Economics Professor Eric Sims started class one day last winter with a practical joke, poking fun at the search for the next Fighting Irish head football coach by stating he was interested in a job at Northwestern University. What was unique about this joke, however, was how he presented it. Sims used the popular social networking website Twitter to “Tweet” his joke. The social networking website allows participants to Tweet thoughts, post links and hold conversations, 140 characters at a time. Users can also “follow” other Twitter users. Sims is one of several professors on campus who uses the website as a tool to stay connected with students and the community outside the classroom. Sims said one of the benefits of the website is its interactive nature. “It became something to post ideas or funny things. It is also a way to meet up with people on staff. It is a great way to get news,” he said. “Some students follow it, but it is really just my thoughts on the world. It is a way for me to stay connected.” Sims estimates of the 255 people who follow him on the website, at least 10 to 20 are current or past students. In addition to students, Sims said he has one follower with a high profile on campus. “Brian Kelly follows me on Twitter. He follows 91 people and has around 20,000 followers. I am one of the 91,” he said. Senior Brad Adamo, who follows Sims, sees Twitter as an excellent way for students to stay connected with professors over the course of their academic career. “It’s difficult to stay in touch and or build a relationship with professors in general and even more so after you’ve finished taking their classes,” he said. “I think that Twitter is a great way to interact with professors outside of the academic sphere.” Marketing Professor Carol Phillips believes the social networking site also possesses a value to her career. “I use it mostly for business. I have a consulting business, and I Tweet about things I am interested in,” she said. “It allows me to have a much bigger community of people who are interested in the things I am interested in.” Phillips, who has been using the site for two years and has 5,000 followers, said students should consider opening a Twitter account for future employment opportunities. “Showing an ability to use social media such as Twitter is important to employers. Twitter is about extending your network,” she said. “I’ve met people I wouldn’t have met another way.” Mark Galano, a junior who follows Sims on Twitter, said he believes the website will prove important for social and employment purposes in the future. “I do believe Twitter will be a powerful networking tool as far as staying in touch with old friends as well as making new business opportunities,” he said. “The way Twitter works is somewhat like a ripple effect, because you start to follow followers of your followers and people you follow.” Phillips said though Twitter is important for business networking, she has not had success with the website as a classroom tool. “I have found students at Notre Dame aren’t as interested in it,” she said. “I have students that follow me, but I don’t use it exclusively for class.” Adamo said a reason students may not see much purpose in Twitter academically is its similarity to preexisting technology. “Twitter is definitely an expedient way to disseminate information but I don’t know if it would be any more effective than e-mail,” he said. “Then again, it could be interesting to have to Tweet a discussion question. I think it’s definitely worth a try.” Sims said Twitter is becoming an important source for current events. “It condenses thoughts and information from a lot of people in a small space. There are webs of connection,” he said. “People aren’t trying to hide stuff. All the news sources have one, and it’s a great pool of information.” In addition to the usefulness of the site for her career, Phillips said the enjoyable nature of the website is part of the reason she continues to use it. “It is really fun. I check it before I check my e-mail. My husband knows to reach me he should Tweet and not e-mail,” she said. “Anyone can follow me.”
Campus Life Council (CLC) addressed various issues relevant to student life, including alcohol education and off-campus safety, but passed only one concrete resolution. The Council focused on researching and making suggestions for other student government groups. Rather than taking direct action, CLC members compiled information and held conversations about problems on campus. CLC is composed of rectors, student government representatives and faculty members. These members split into three task forces that met bi-weekly to discuss residential life at Notre Dame and communication with the student body. After underage drinking arrests skyrocketed earlier this year, the Council benchmarked Notre Dame’s relationship with local law enforcement against other universities. This research led to the only resolution passed by Council members. The resolution requested a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University, student government, the South Bend Police Department and the Indiana State Excise Police. The MOU stated that these groups would meet each semester and continue to discuss how to promote off-campus safety. Underage drinking was the focus of the Culture Shift task force, chaired by student body vice president Andrew Bell. “The overarching theme was there has obviously been a shift in how alcohol is used on campus and starting to understand that shift. Alcohol has become more of a center of socializing and not just a point of socializing,” Bell said. “This is not true for every single person, but seems to be part of the culture.” The task force particularly emphasized the role of education in discouraging irresponsible or unsafe consumption of alcohol. Student-led events and continuous education after the beginning of the year were the most effective ways to educate students, Bell said. The Communication task force grew out of a previous task force on discipline that was cancelled midway through the semester. The task force originally set out to address lasting discipline records and their effects on post-graduate opportunities, but last year’s administration found that a change could not be made in the Office of Residence Life and Housing. Communications chair Mike Oliver said his task force addressed the effectiveness of “The Week,” a weekly e-mail to inform students of on-campus events. “Students are flooded with information and may not receive the information that really pertains to their interests,” Oliver said. “What we are focusing on is a means of communication where students get event information pertinent to their interests.” The Communications task force will disband shortly after spring semester begins, but Oliver said he hopes its ideas will become more tangible in the future. “Next semester we want to bring [our research] all together and figure out a way to more effectively communicate with students,” he said. The Communications task force worked closely with the task force on Residential Life. Chair Nick Ruof said the Residential Life task force aimed to facilitate on-campus programming. “What we have been looking into is trying to make it easier for dorms, SUB and other organizations that program on campus to plan their events. It could be easier to plan events on campus,” Ruof said. Ruof said the task force specifically addressed the costs, locations and publicity involved in planning student events on campus. Residential Life members are developing a list of programming venues and a simplified way to reserve an open location for events, Ruof said. The task force will pass its ideas to the Senate committees for Residence Life and University Affairs before it is disbanded in January, Ruof said. At semester’s end, all three of the CLC task forces remained in the researching and planning stages. While the Council is an advisory group meant to discuss relevant student issues, they did not produce many formal recommendations toward policy changes. Grade: B- The task forces struggled to focus their goals and produce concrete results. While the one resolution passed was positive for community relations, it was the only formal recommendation made by the Council.
While Notre Dame’s incoming Class of 2016 promises to be the most accomplished ever based on numbers alone, Don Bishop, associate vice president for enrollment, said the new freshman class brings more to campus than top test scores and GPAs. “This year, 55 percent of enrolling students were ranked in the top one percent of their class, or by national test scores,” Bishop said. “But just having the high numbers wasn’t enough. We have a holistic admissions selection process.” Bishop said the University’s broader admissions evaluation process looks beyond the raw numbers, and focuses on determining whether applicants fit Notre Dame. “We look at high school performance, national test results, essays, letters – that’s the holistic process,” he said. “In the end, we feel we’ve shaped the best class possible for what the Notre Dame mission is.” This year’s admission rate was 23 percent, with a record 16,957 applicants, 3,947 admitted applicants and 2,015 estimated enrollees. The transfer class also faced tough competition, with the University admitting 167 of 509 applicants, and an estimated 140 enrolling. Bishop attributed the influx of applications to Notre Dame’s academic prominence and the University’s unique identity. “I think Notre Dame’s reputation continues to rise,” he said. “The beauty of the campus, especially with all of the construction in the last 5 to 10 years – when people see it, it really is one of the great American campuses. Notre Dame is iconic, it’s the leading Catholic university, and students who value that identity are highly attracted.” Despite the University’s rising reputation and admission standards, Bishop stressed its mission is more central than ever in the admissions process. “In the last five years, Notre Dame has gotten significantly more selective, but we’re more on mission,” he said. “We look more today at the other things we value [besides academics] … It’s not just a numbers game.” Numbers game or not, the Class of 2016’s test scores reached a new high for the University. The middle 50 percent scoring range for the SAT and ACT were 1380-1510 and 31-34, respectively. Although the incoming class boasts higher numbers than preceding classes, Bishop said scores are not the sole distinguishing factor. “The academic profile is similar to the last year or two. What’s different this year is that the class is more global as well as more diverse within the U.S., which we view as probably one of the great success points,” Bishop said. This year’s class body boasts five percent international students and 27 percent students of color from within the U.S. Bishop doesn’t attribute the greater diversity to a larger pool of diverse applicants or admits, but rather at the increasing likelihood that ethnically diverse or international students will choose to enroll at Notre Dame. While the overall class profile continues to become more varied, Bishop said a number of noteworthy individual students make the incoming class even more unique. “In this class we have a student who participated in the U.S. Women’s Open, we have an Olympian, we have a student who started up an Internet business, a student who founded a fundraising organization at age 12 and raised $50,000 for [Hurricane] Katrina,” Bishop said. “There are some individuals who’ve already distinguished themselves on the outside [of the University].” Bishop said it is crucial for the University to continue to pursue an increasingly diverse student body. “You’re going to see that American top universities are broadening access, and Notre Dame needs to be on the forefront,” he said. “We are ambitiously seeking the top students from every background. That’s why we meet full need.” Bishop said the generosity of alumni and the successful management of the University’s growing endowment have made it possible to expand accessibility for applicants with limited financial resources. “About half of our [incoming] students are on Notre Dame Scholarships,” Bishop said. “Notre Dame will invest $110 million of University funds in scholarships for their education over the next four years.” Bishop said his office’s long-term plans for the future center on the further expansion of its outreach to a more diverse and global pool of potential applicants. “We’re going to be doing even more in the future, more recruitment, more contact and follow-up with students,” he said. While the talent and academic profile of incoming classes are likely to continue along this upward trajectory, Bishop said he believes his team has found the ideal class for the University at this point in time. “I wouldn’t trade this class for any other university’s,” he said. “The [academic] profile puts them in the top-15, maybe top-10, but I wouldn’t trade them for any of the others because of all their attributes. They have attributes the other top universities would envy, so we’re fortunate those students view Notre Dame as a special place.”
DUBLIN — When news of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore “Ted” Hesburgh’s death broke shortly after 1:00 a.m. Friday, hundreds of students had a uniquely Notre Dame instinct: go to the Grotto, light a candle and pray.For hundreds of other students studying in one of Notre Dame’s over 30 study abroad programs, the warm glow and prayerful comfort of the Grotto were thousands of miles and numerous time zones away. But in the days since, those students have offered prayers and shared memories of Hesburgh in solidarity with their classmates who were able to gather at the snowy grounds of the Grotto early Friday morning.In Rome, junior architecture students observed a moment of silence before class Friday before celebrating Hesburgh’s life at mass the next morning.“Before studio, our professors organized a moment of silence to reflect on the life and work of Fr. Hesburgh,” junior Molly Kalk said. “A number of us decided over the course of the day to go to the 7 a.m. Mass at St. Peter’s [Basilica] the next morning to remember Fr. Ted and pray for his family, fellow members of the Congregation and Notre Dame.“At the Vatican, we, by chance, spotted a priest wearing the Holy Cross anchors and asked him if he would pray with us. [Former provincial superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross] Fr. Carl Ebey reflected eloquently on Fr. Ted’s life and we prayed by the Baldacchino, starting, as Fr. Ted would, with ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’”Junior Tom Nye, who is also studying in Rome, said the immediate news of Hesburgh’s death came after he and a group of students walked past the Gregorian University, where Hesburgh received his undergraduate degree in philosophy in 1939.“It felt strange to be so connected to campus though messages, Facebook, Twitter and even Yik Yak, while at the same time being so removed from our friends grieving together in dorms and at the Grotto,” Nye said.Junior Abby Shepard, who met Hesburgh at a mass at the Notre Dame Environmental Research Center in Land O’Lakes, Wis. was one of approximately 25 students who gathered in Dublin Tuesday evening to watch a live stream of Hesburgh’s funeral.“I felt like it was important [to watch the funeral] because it was a Notre Dame community event,” Shepard said. “I did meet Fr. Hesburgh twice, and I felt like since we’re not on campus to be a part of the week, it was important to go and at least see the funeral and be a part of that.”On Monday students in London, Notre Dame’s largest study abroad program, shared reflections on Hesburgh’s legacy and celebrated mass in Trafalgar Hall.“We had a memorial service for Fr. Ted and it was a beautiful celebration of his life,” junior Grace Mazur said. “We had near 100 people attend the service, including students, faculty, alumni and the public.“… Even being thousands of miles from campus, we were able to join the entire Notre Dame community in prayer to celebrate the life of Fr. Ted. While it is definitely sad that we cannot be in South Bend to participate in the campus services, I think the fact that Fr. Ted’s legacy is being celebrated and remembered by students and alumni around the world is a great tribute to the impact that he made,” Mazur said.That global legacy is evident in Notre Dame’s Jerusalem program, which junior David Oh said would not be possible without Hesburgh’s work to help establish the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, where Notre Dame students study.“One of Fr. Hesburgh’s lesser known contributions to the greater good is in the realm of ecumenism, or the promotion of unity among Christian churches denominations,” Oh said. “After the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI asked Fr. Hesburgh to direct the efforts to establish an academic institute for ecumenical purposes in Jerusalem. As a result, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, opened its doors in 1972.“Since then, it has welcomed scholars, priests, pilgrims of all faith traditions and from all walks of life, including Notre Dame students for a semester of study abroad. I think the continued existence of this very unique place, and Notre Dame’s commitment to it, is a fitting testament to Fr. Hesburgh’s vision for justice, reconciliation and peace in our world. His spirit lives on in places far and wide — even in a place as far away from Notre Dame as Jerusalem.”Junior Steven Fisher, who is also studying abroad in Jerusalem, said Hesburgh’s legacy there, memorialized by a statue of him outside the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, lives on in the continual opportunities students receive.“Without Fr. Hesburgh we could not have come [to Jerusalem] to explore, learn and grow,” Fisher said. “A bronze bust of him sits at the entrance of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute where we live and study, and now when I see it I am only beginning to realize what he meant to our university.”Tags: Dublin, Fr. Ted, Hesburgh, Jerusalem, London, Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica, study abroad, Trafalgar Hall, Vatican
Photo courtesy of Aaron Nichols The Actors From the London Stage perform during their production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Each actor in the company plays at least three roles, distinguishing each character through costumes and mannerisms. The Actors From the London Stage (AFTLS) company debuted their production of “Romeo and Juliet” in Washington Hall on Wednesday night. The company, made up of just five actors, visits Notre Dame every semester thanks to the University’s status as the “American home” for the organization, Aaron Nichols, Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s audience development manager, said.“In the year 2000 the opportunity came for us to take a more active role in the organization,” he said. “ … It’s kind of exciting that every semester now we get to have this world-class Shakespeare group come to the University.”Nichols said the University has played an active role in “determining the trajectory of the organization,” including introducing gender-fluid casting to recent productions.“We’re not trying to flip it completely, but we’re saying any actor can play any role because we’re acting,” he said. “ … So as long as the audience goes with you on that journey and accepts that suspension of disbelief, there are some amazing actresses in the world who now have the opportunity to play some wonderful male roles.”This gender-fluid casting becomes a necessity with such a small cast, Nichols said.“Everyone is playing at least three roles,” he said. “Because Romeo and Juliet are such prominent roles those two characters don’t play as many other roles, but for instance, Jack Whitam, who is playing Romeo, is actually also playing Lady Montague. It’s really fun.”AFTLS company member Sarah Finigan said in addition to playing multiple roles, each actor played a part in directing the show.“So there are five of us and no director,” she said. “We are all the director. So that means you have to work in a different way. You have to be very collaborative, you have to accept everyone’s ideas and try them out. So it takes a long time.”Audience members will be able to differentiate between the multiple characters each actor plays due to the care the company has taken in creating specific personas for each role, Nichols said.“You’re so impressed with the virtuosity of these actors creating characters with just a flip of a scarf or a new hat or a cane,” he said. “And suddenly, you are believing. You forget what you’ve seen earlier from an actor.”Finigan said this show is particularly timely considering the current political atmosphere in the United States.“Keep an eye out for the signifiers for the two different families,” she said. “It’s quite a difficult time in America at the moment, and the play is about, really, the consequences of hatred and rivalry. We’ve tried to highlight that.”In addition to performances Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, Nichols said, each of the actors will visit eight to 10 classrooms over the course of the week.“We look for actors that not only have acting experience and world-class resumes, we also look for actors who are interested in the teaching aspect of what we do,” he said. “Because not only are we performing here at Notre Dame, we’re also going into classrooms all over the campus to bring the skill sets of our actors and the educational experience of our actors to bear in a lot of different classroom settings.”Nichols said the educational side of the company has become as important as the performance aspect.“We consider our organization dual-focused,” he said. “We consider the classroom work just as important as the performance work. … I think that commitment really expands the value of what we’re doing. Because not only are you seeing these great actors on stage, but you get them in your classroom and they awaken you to the potential of any text.”Finigan said she appreciates the opportunity AFTLS provides for her to incorporate teaching into her work as an actor.“This is the first time I’ve combined teaching and acting into one job,” she said. “It’s great. … It’s a brilliant experience here at Notre Dame, and the American university atmosphere — we love it so far, so we’re excited to get out to the other universities, too.”The company will perform “Romeo and Juliet” at 7:30 Thursday and Friday in Washington Hall. Tickets are still available at shakespeare.nd.edu.Tags: London, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
With the Feast of the Immaculate Conception happening in just under two months, some Catholics are preparing to consecrate themselves to Mary through a Marian consecration.“In simplest terms, it’s basically giving your life to Christ, but through his mother Mary,” senior Julie Weilbaker said. “So it is entrusting ourselves, our souls, our lives, all of our works, joys and sufferings to Mary as an offering to Jesus.”Weilbaker said this year’s Marian consecration will focus on what it means to dedicate one’s life to Mary. The group will read the book “33 Days to Morning Glory” in preparation for the consecration.“A big part of the consecration that we are doing, which is called ‘33 Days to Morning Glory,’ is learning what is a consecration to Mary,” she said. “Because there are different books written about it, different prayers that you can do … and this one is really focused on learning what does [Marian consecration] even mean.”The consecration will end on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day that holds a special meaning to the College.“One of the Sisters of the Holy Cross told me that Saint Mary’s is dedicated to [the Feast of the] Immaculate Conception,” Weilbaker said.A Marian consecration is different than other devotions to particular saints, Weilbaker added.“It is more than just a devotion to saint,” she said. “And it is more than just feeling special about Mary. It is actually entrusting my whole self to her, as a way of becoming holy.”Weilbaker decided to consecrate herself to Mary after a friend gave her a book in high school.“I first did it my junior year of high school,” she said. “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. … I realized that it wasn’t another religious book that I would read — it was something that was going to change my life completely.”The group at Saint Mary’s began after Weilbaker struck up a friendship with a nun.“[Our group] is really informal,” she said. “I became friends with one of the sisters after meeting her at daily Mass. And as we were having lunch, we were talking about how cool it would be if we could do a Marian consecration at Saint Mary’s. … There are five of us right now who are doing it. It is open if anybody still wants to do it with us; anyone and everyone is welcome, even if they don’t go to Saint Mary’s.”Sr. Mary Ann Uebbing, leader of the Marian consecration group, said she and Weilbaker had previously discussed doing a consecration.“It was last spring,” Uebbing said. “I was talking with Julie and she seemed interested in Marian consecration. I had the DVD [that accompanies the book] and I had done it before, so I asked if she was interested and she was.”A process of meeting and reflection needs to be completed before one can complete a Marian consecration, Weilbaker said.“Each day you do a two-and-a-half to five minute reading and then afterwards you do a little reflection, and we have a workbook that you can write in,” she said. “Or you can just think about the questions. And then once a week we’ll meet together, talk about how we grew throughout the week, how we feel God spoke to our hearts and then watch a short video that Fr. Michael Gaitley, who is the author of this specific book, made, and then actually make the consecration on Dec. 8.”Weilbaker said consecrating her life to Mary has significantly altered her spirituality.“It completely transformed my faith life,” she said. “Even if every day I don’t renew the consecration in prayer, although I try to, I know that all of my daily life is offered to her. … In a way it helped me to grow in humility, recognizing that I can’t do this on my own.”Uebbing said she tries to model her life after Mary’s example.“I have always loved Mary, right from childhood,” Uebbing said. “She is a motherly support, helping you get closer and closer to Christ, helping you to be more charitable. She is the perfect Christian disciple. She is the model to help me as I become a better Christian disciple.”A Marian consecration is beneficial for those who want to grow closer to Jesus in a concrete manner, Weilbaker added.“We all have a call to become holy,” she said. “We all have a call to become saints. … And if we really want to live our lives in imitation of Christ, I mean he really did for 30 years of life entrust himself to Mary in obedience and love of her. It is awesome to go out and preach the Gospel — it is awesome to keep learning about theology. But if you really are living an imitation of the life of Christ, I think this is a huge component of it. … Anyone who wants to get to know Christ better, [Marian consecration] is an incredible way to do it.”Uebbing has a simple reason why she wants others to consecrate themselves to Mary.“When you experience a good thing, you really want others to share it,” she said.Tags: Campus Ministry, Marian Consecration, saint mary’s
Notre Dame has released its regular admission decisions, and with it the profile of the class of 2023 has started to take shape.An increase of 1,825 students — about 9 percent — applied for this year’s application pool, comprising a record-breaking 22,200 applicants, Donald Bishop, the associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said.Claire Kopischke | The Observer The total number of applicants was not the only increase the admissions office noted. Applications for students with the highest academic credentials also increased by 22 percent. “This was by far our most competitive and selective year,” Bishop said. “There were students that we would admit just two or three years ago, that we just couldn’t admit now.”The class is currently composed of 3,410 admitted students from 2,050 different high schools. The types of high schools admitted students came from also displayed some diversity, with 47 percent of admits coming from public schools, 34 percent coming from Catholic schools and 19 percent coming from private or charter schools, Bishop said. Test scores and good grades are far from the only factors that go into the admission decision process, Bishop said. The process involves various factors, like the needs of the University’s various colleges and athletic programs, the diversity of the applicant pool, the academic and personal interests of applicants and other more qualitative factors. “Top colleges are looking for students who won’t treat this as the biggest achievement of their life,” Bishop said. “It’s just the next step and they want to use the college as a vehicle to get smarter, to get more creative and to enjoy learning more.”Bishop said some applicants have a great transcript on paper but do not truly want to become better students and people. “So there is a group of applicants that have exceptional credentials but actually don’t have the motivation to become better, they’re just trying to outperform everybody,” Bishop said. “The new elite student is coming up with their own questions, they’re less enamored with and driven by coming up with the answers to whatever questions they think are going to be asked and they are a lot more interested in developing their own questions.” The admissions office is not solely concerned with making the final admit decisions, but consider how and where efforts could be made to cultivate a better applicant pool. “As famous as Notre Dame is, we don’t want to just draw applicants that somehow have heard about Notre Dame,” Bishop said. “We’re typically under-represented in groups that don’t know as much about the University. We want leaders from all these different socioeconomic groups, so if they go back to their home environments, Notre Dame has a role in building leaders in all communities — not just necessarily limited to who already knew about Notre Dame.”To help combat this issue, the University has started working with groups like the American Talent Initiative, Cristo Rey and QuestBridge — all of which try to find high-ability, low-income students and provide them with a richer view and greater degree of interaction with top colleges. “QuestBridge is probably our largest relationship — we’ll probably have over a hundred students in the fall who came through the QuestBridge process,” Bishop said. The University is also interested in increasing representation in students and applicants. While more diverse representation overall has been on the rise, there are still groups that appear to be underrepresented.“If you look at the non-white United States students of color, we’re at about 26 [or] 27 percent,” Bishop said. “Ten years ago we were at about 16 percent [or] 17 percent, so we’ve grown there and we’ve also grown in international [students] and we want to grow more. We also want to grow in first generation and low-income [students]. We are, in our opinion, underrepresented there compared to our peers.”Bishop also said that the recent college admissions scandal, while it didn’t involve Notre Dame, has caused the University and other top schools to take a look at their admissions processes.“I think all of the top schools are really evaluating what sort of mechanisms have people use to maybe distort their profiles,” Bishop said. “We looked very quickly at our pool and we felt that we did our due diligence. We have every year found some students fraudulently applying, and when we catch that we dismiss their application. There’s not many cases of that, but each year there are several.”The incoming class of 2023 was not only record setting in its academic qualifications, but also exhibited a couple of characteristic differences overall from previous classes. “We’re looking for students who will also use School of Global Affairs, I think that’s been a big gain,” Bishop said. “We promoted the creativity side of Notre Dame more, and we looked for students who were responsive to that.”Tags: class of 2023, college admissions, college admissions scandal
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) CNN Pool PhotoWASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said last week that he “should not have used the words I used” when he declared at a rally in front of the Supreme Court that two justices would “pay the price” for their decision in an abortion case.Republicans chastised Schumer for the remark and Chief Justice John Roberts in a rare rebuke said the words were “inappropriate” and “dangerous.” Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Schumer’s words “astonishingly reckless and completely irresponsible” and said they could have “horrific unintended consequences.” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, floated the idea of a censure.Schumer directed the comments at Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh while a significant abortion case was being argued at the high court.“You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer said, naming the two appointees of President Donald Trump, according to video of the rally. Schumer did not back down from the comments on Wednesday evening, with his spokesman criticizing Roberts as not remaining impartial. But Schumer clarified the next morning that he meant political consequences for the justices, not physical ones. He said it was a “gross distortion” to imply otherwise.“I’m from Brooklyn, we speak in strong language,” Schumer said. “I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that, and Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that too.”He said he made the comments because he feels passionately about protecting abortion rights.“I feel so deeply, the anger of women all across America,” Schumer said. “About Senate Republicans and the courts, working hand in glove to take down Roe v Wade.”The dust-up was the latest in a series of politically charged moments around the Supreme Court — and those two justices, in particular. Republicans are still nursing resentments from Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation after he faced decades-old allegations of sexual assault. Democrats are still angry about McConnell’s 2016 decision not to confirm a new justice after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia while President Barack Obama was still in office. Trump nominated Gorsuch for that position after he became president.Schumer spoke for less than four minutes at the rally Wednesday, just as arguments got underway in the first major abortion case since Gorsuch and Kavanaugh joined the court. The Democrat invoked the two justices whose nominations he opposed, giving a thumbs-down gesture to provoke boos from the crowd.His reference to a “whirlwind” hearkened back to Kavanaugh’s own passionate opening statement at a 2018 confirmation hearing. The judge lashed out at Democrats who had criticized him as the panel reviewed the sexual assault allegations.“I fear the country will reap the whirlwind,” Kavanaugh said then.Hours after the rally where Schumer appeared, Roberts issued the statement singling out his comments. “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,” Roberts said.It was only the second time the chief justice has responded to criticism of individual judges. In 2018, Roberts rebuked Trump for the president’s criticism of an “Obama judge.”But Roberts has otherwise stayed silent, including in recent weeks when Trump questioned the impartiality of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, and of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who presided over the trial and sentencing of Trump ally Roger Stone.Likewise, Senate Republicans did not criticize those comments. McConnell himself came under criticism in August when his campaign tweeted a photo of signs that were shaped as tombstones with names of Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, and McConnell’s likely 2020 election opponent, Democrat Amy McGrath.Asked about Schumer’s comments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Schumer had said his words were not appropriate, and “I support him on that.”The justices are weighing a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A federal judge found that just one of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would remain open if the law is allowed to take effect.Roberts is expected to be the deciding vote. The court struck down a similar law in 2016, before Kavanaugh and Gorsuch joined the court.
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) WNY News Now File Image.JAMESTOWN — Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he’ll be appointing an Acting Police Chief for the Jamestown Police Department.Sundquist, during a City Council Work Session meeting Monday, said he’ll be accepting internal letters of intent for the acting position through this Friday. He says the acting chief would serve following the July 10 retirement of current Police Chief Harry Snellings.The Mayor told the council that the hiring process of the permanent police chief will be “much, much longer” in an effort to find “the right person.” He says the process will be opened up for the entire month of July to both internal and external candidates.Once his office vets the applications to make sure they have the necessary qualifications, Sundquist says he’ll be constructing a recommendation committee consisting of Councilmembers, members from the Jamestown Police and Fire Departments, and community members. Sundquist says he’ll have the committee help him narrow down the number of candidates to a top three list. He adds that he wants the process to be “inclusive.” From there, Sundquist will appoint a Chief to be confirmed by City Council.WNYNewsNow reached out to Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson for his take on Snellings’ retirement, along with the search for a new police chief. He says both the acting and permanent Chief will have a challenge ahead of them.“That’s a big job. Chief Snellings made it look simple,” Swanson said. “Filling that spot will be no easy task for whoever is tasked to do it. They manage the department that generates the majority of our cases in this county. There’s plenty to manage in Jamestown. Chief Snellings did it very well.”“I don’t know that you have that great, or at least I didn’t, have that great of an appreciation just for what the Chiefs of Police and the Sheriff, and Captain (Eric) Balon (New York State Police) do until you sit down in my chair and you speak with them on a regular basis, and begin to understand the things they’re dealing with and managing.”Swanson says Snellings “managed to foster a decent relationship with the community he served and with the Mayor he worked under.”“That’s not easy to do,” he added.The county’s top prosecutor says he’s “looking forward” to working with whoever is appointed as the next Chief.WNYNewsNow reached out to Sundquist’s office for clarification on the status of the City’s Public Safety Director position. We did not hear back as of publish time.
Stock Image.JAMESTOWN — A Jamestown woman was arrested after an argument about the use of a face mask ensued at a local convenience store this morning.Jamestown Police responded to a call about 11 a.m. Wednesday at a 7-Eleven Store, 518 North Main St., with store officials complaining of an irate customer.Jessica McAdoo, 27, was told she could not make a purchase without wearing a face mask, the store manager told officers.Police said allegedly McAdoo became angry, challenged the store employee to a fight and knocked over a product display before fleeing the scene. She was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespass. She was held for arraignment. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)