WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to 779,000 last week, a historically high total that shows that a sizable number of people are still losing jobs to the viral pandemic. Last week’s total dropped from 812,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday, and is the lowest in two months. Before the virus erupted in the United States in March, weekly applications for jobless aid had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession.
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan opposition figure Bobi Wine is urging the international community to back up concerns over the country’s disputed elections with “strong actions.” Wine, who is contesting his loss to long-time Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni in last month’s presidential elections, told reporters that he hopes “the world will stand with the people of Uganda.” “Gen. Museveni, like all dictators, is not moved by words,” said Wine, a 38-year-old singer and lawmaker whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. He spoke via video link from his house on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where he said he effectively remains under house arrest. “We hope that there will be more action following the strongly worded statements.”
Martha Minow, this year’s speaker for the annual Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy, is not someone who ascribes to the “ivory tower” mentality that can isolate academics, said Joan Fallon, director of communications for the Kroc Institute.Instead, Minow is a highly accessible and relatable thinker who has a passion for education, Fallon said.Minow, a human rights advocate for minorities, women and children, is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor and dean of Harvard Law School.Her lecture, Education as a Tool in Preventing Conflict: Suggestions for the International Criminal Court, will be given on March 16 at 4:15 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium.“It’s exciting to showcase a high platform person because those aren’t always so visible,” Fallon said. “These speakers meet students, faculty, they talk with them … I think students across the University, from law to history to journalism, not just peace studies students, would be really interested in her.”The Hesburgh Lecture is the largest and most prestigious event the Kroc Institute hosts each year, Fallon said. Past speakers have included the Rev. Bryan Hehir, Congressman Lee Hamilton and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.“We don’t tell [the speakers] what to talk about,” Fallon said. “We choose them based on the merit of their work and each brings a fresh perspective.”The lecture series began as a way to honor University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh in his public role as an international leader in ethics, said Hal Culbertson, executive director for the Kroc Institute.“We set up the lecture to bring in people contributing to society in the areas of ethics and public policy,” Culbertson said. “Fr. Hesburgh founded the institute, with the help of Mrs. Kroc. He had a vision for an institute where we would educate peace builders and also shape public policy.”The lectures are always a popular event, Fallon said, with last year’s expected audience so large they moved the lecture into the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.“We usually have equal parts students and faculty,” Fallon said. “There’s also a reception afterwards for people to meet her and talk for a few minutes.“The Hesburgh Lecture represents people who are doing the essence of what Notre Dame tries to do, and that is to be engaged at the highest level of thinking … We try to encourage Notre Dame students to think about themselves as influential global citizens.”
Weeks ago, senior Kathleen Bracke envisioned her one-of-a-kind senior thesis: writing, directing and editing a 25-minute film about a young Irish girl shot on location in the Emerald Isle’s native tongue. This dream became a reality for Bracke after she received a congratulatory phone call from the Princess Grace Foundation, informing her that she had won its Undergraduate Film Scholarship. “I was shocked when I found out I won it,” Bracke said. “I feel really fortunate because its an amazing program that supports artists who want to break into the film world; it provides the stepping-stone an aspiring filmmaker needs to bride from one place to another.” Now celebrating its 30th year, the Princess Grace Award recognizes outstanding emerging artists in film, theater, dance, playwriting and choreography. The award’s namesake comes from Grace Kelly, a 1950s actress best known for her roles in films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. After leaving Hollywood, Kelly married into the royal family of Monaco, a small city-state located on the French Riviera. Friends, family and donors from around the world established the Princess Grace Foundation shortly after her death in 1982 to continue Kelly’s support of the performing arts. Now, Bracke will be able to use the funding from the award to create her film. “To apply for the award, I had to include an outline of my thesis project and a portfolio of all of my work up to this point,” she said. “Because of my undergraduate research opportunities, I was able to go to Ireland to explore what exactly I wanted to do for the film. “The Princess Grace Foundation saw that I wasn’t going to Ireland for fun – this was a passion of mine,” she said. Bracke said she developed the idea for the script on a car ride with her mother two weeks before the application was due. “We were talking about all the different experiences I’ve had in Ireland and it all came back to culture and language,” Bracke said. “I wanted to express the culture of the area while using the Irish language in the film.” Bracke she will order film equipment and begin hiring crewmembers and actors after finalizing the script. “I’m going back to Ireland in October to meet with potential cast members and get other logistics sorted out,” Bracke said. “We’re planning on shooting the film over winter break.” Bracke said she will begin the postproduction process in March and the film will be ready to submit to festivals in May after its premiere on campus. “This journey definitely began outside the classroom by meeting with professors and picking their brains,” she said. “I really got to establish some great relationships with my professors who became mentors to me.” Bracke said she wants to incorporate her Film, Television and Theatre major and Irish Language and Literature minor into a career. “I love cinematography and I love the Irish culture, so I imagine I will be in Ireland working with film,” Bracke said. “I want to make people think in a new way.”
“Girl Talk,” a three-week discussion series focused on facilitating dialogue on college issues among Notre Dame women, came to a close Sunday. The series was created as part of the Right to Life club by senior and Joys of Life commissioner Samantha Stempky. Topics of discussion included birth control, feminism and gender relations. “It was about creating a space for girls to come together and talk about issues that are particular to women,” she said. During the first week, the group approached the topics of feminism in a general sense and the Church’s view of women. Stempky said the discussion centered on the question, “What does it mean to be a woman?” “The article we read was a bunch of selections from Pope John Paul’s letter to women which is a document that a lot of people don’t know about,” she said. “[It] basically [says] you’re equal, thanks for working, thanks for being in the world.” The following week the topic of discussion was birth control, and Stempky said her committee asked South Bend fertility care specialist Suzy Younger to speak on this topic. The series then concluded with a third and final discussion on beauty, the worth of women and the ways women are viewed by men, including a short discussion on pornography. “Although we’re aware that women are objectified in the media, how much progress have we actually made in feeling better about ourselves and knowing how to recognize our own self-worth even when we don’t look like a model?” Stempky said. “I think how women relate to men is very much affected by how women are portrayed in the media, both from how men view women and how women choose to interact with men.” Stempky said several factors contributed to her creation of this discussion series. One reason in particular stemmed from the recent presidential election, she said. “During the political debates people were very generalizing and theoretical and [making] sweeping statements about women,” she said. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge the personal experiences behind these women’s issues.” Whether people are pro-life or pro-choice, for or against contraception, and women in the church, those opinions stem from personal reasons which need to be recognized, Stempky said. “Growing up, your experience of being a woman is going to shape how you think about feminism and these issues, and so we wanted to recognize that and try to focus the discussion on that.” Stempky said. The plans for this series also arose from talks by George Mason University law professor Helen Avare, Stempky said. “I was really very inspired by her “Women speak for themselves” campaign and just this idea that women have their individual, unique voices,” she said.” Often people think they know other’s opinions on certain issues and later find out they really do not, Stempky said. “We may have different ideas about what’s best for women, but usually all women want what’s best for women,” she said. Through this series, Stempky said the committee hoped to facilitate an open dialogue and create a tone that would encourage others to share their opinions, thought, and feelings to last for years to come. “I think it was really fruitful even for people who couldn’t attend,” she said. “It got people thinking about the different variations of women’s issues and women’s thoughts and feelings on these issues.” Stempky said she believes this sort of dialogue is important especially on a Catholic campus in light of the recent health mandate and issues like contraception in the media today. “On a campus like Notre Dame’s that’s Catholic yet very prestigious in the secular world women’s issues can become more complicated,” Stempky said. “There’s more chance for misunderstandings because you are interacting with Church teaching.” Contact Carolyn Hutyra at firstname.lastname@example.org
A panel of four faculty experts gathered in the Geddes Hall coffee house Thursday evening to discuss different demographic groups and their implications on the 2016 election in an event titled “Identity Politics? Thinking about Groups in the 2016.”The event was hosted by ND Votes ’16, a non-partisan coalition dedicated to promoting voter participation in next year’s elections.Political science department chair David Campbell began the discussion by highlighting the significance of the youth demographic in American politics. He centered his speech on challenging “myths about young people and their role in American politics.”Campbell said many people generalize that the “youth are apathetic liberals” – a claim he said retains some degree of truth. Nonetheless, Campbell said there are certain misconceptions about youth voters.Addressing the students in the room, Campbell said, “On most issues your generation does lean farther to the left than your parents and your grandparents.” However, Campbell said one exception to this is the issue of abortion. “Young people today look a lot more like their grandparents than their parents in terms of their stance on abortion,” he said. Campbell concluded with another exception to the rule: the issue of gun control. Campbell said young people “aren’t terribly liberal” on gun control.Professor of political science Darren Davis began his speech with the number 12.3 projected on the screen. He said the significance of that number is that African Americans comprise 12.3 percent of the American population, a seemingly small figure in comparison to the total population. However, Davis said African Americans can still affect the outcome of the election.“We don’t elect our president nationally, we have something that’s called the electoral college,” he said.Davis said in states with large black populations, African-Americans can impact the state election.“African-Americans can potentially influence 32.9 percent of the 270 votes that are needed to win in 2016,” Davis said. “ … This is how race becomes important in national politics.”Associate professor of political science Ricardo Ramirez devoted his talk to the Latino demographic. He said there are a substantial amount of Latinos eligible to vote who are not registered. “The reality with Latinos is that they have potential to impact elections if they were to be mobilized,” Ramirez said.He said the reason for the lack of mobilization of and outreach to Latinos who are eligible to vote is a combination “of where they live and the fact that they’re young.”Most Latinos live in non-swing states, he said, which parties and candidates typically ignore. Ramirez also said many Latinos are young, and young people tend to be on average less politically involved. Ramirez said he thinks Latino voting turnout will increase for the 2016 election, largely owing to the fact that they “feel under attack” from Donald Trump’s campaign.“If Latinos associate a certain party with not wanting them who do you think they are going to vote for?” he said.The final speaker, associate professor of political science Christina Wolbrecht, focused on the implications of women’s voting habits on elections and said there is a larger gender gap in the younger generations. However, Wolbrecht said the gender gap seems to exist only amongst whites. “There isn’t much of a gender gap at all with nonwhites,” Wolbrecht said. Wolbrecht said while many would expect issues directly related to women to cause a large gender gap, in reality this is not the case. “The truth is that men and women actually don’t vary a great deal in their preference on the kind of issues we usually consider women-specific, such as abortion, equal pay and requiring religious institutions to provide birth control,” Wolbrecht said. “Where we see bigger differences between men and women is support for the social welfare state.”ND Votes ’16 is sponsored by the Rooney Center and Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. On Nov. 12, ND Votes ’16 will hold a student forum as a part of their continued initiative. Tags: 2016 presidential campaign, ND Votes ’16, Voter turnout
Grace Tourville A panel of students debate the role of income inequality in alleviating poverty. The discussion, which took place in the LaFortune Ballroom on Tuesday night, was sponsored by BridgeND.Sophomore Mimi Teixeira kicked off the panel saying capitalism on its own is helpful in alleviating poverty.“Almost two billion people have been pulled out of poverty by capitalism alone,” she said. “It is the best poverty program that the human mind has ever created.”Teixeira said she disputes the idea that capitalism promotes the exploitation of the poor.“The idea that people make their wealth on the backs of the poor is just not true,” she said.The problem is poverty, not income inequality, Teixeira said.“It’s the obvious moral imperative to take care of the poor,” she said. “Not only to take care of them, but to give them dignity and to help them out of poverty. I don’t think the solutions to income inequality do that.”Sophomore Natasha Reifenberg said she disagrees with Teixeira’s argument.“I do not understand how you can address poverty without addressing income inequality,” Reifenberg said.Statistics show socioeconomic status to be a strong predictor of academic and economic success, Reifenberg said. For this reason, she said income inequality has put the poor at a significant disadvantage in chasing the American Dream.“Income inequality violates the principles of our country,” she said. “It violates the principles of the pursuit of happiness, and it violates the principles of equality.”Although she said she believes in capitalism, Reifenberg said she thinks it is an imperfect system that must be repaired.“We acknowledge the positives of capitalism,” she said. “We’re not saying anything is better. What we are saying is that it is irresponsible to not address these flaws.”Reifenberg said the idea that the richest work the hardest perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes about the poor.“It perpetrates the belief that poor people are lazy and stupid and deserve to be poor,” Reifenberg said. “We make villains out of the poor people.”Sophomore Armani Niko Porter said people must be careful not to write off income inequality solely because they have not experienced it themselves.“There are those of us who have experienced income inequality and those of us who have not,” he said. “Do not forget that personal background changes the way we see everything.”Senior Raymond Michuda said he believes government policies and regulation are at fault for income inequality, not capitalism.“The government contributes so much to income inequality, and then they try to blame capitalism,” Michuda said.The conversation also shifted to the role income inequality plays in paying for a college education. Michuda said he thinks college is not for everyone, so it is fine not everyone is able to attend college.“If everybody goes to college, in a sense no one did,” Michuda said.Reifenberg said she disagrees with this sentiment, arguing that more education can only benefit society as a whole.“Education is not a resource that gets devalued as more people have access to it,” she said.Because of this, Reifenberg said she believes everyone who wants a college education should have the opportunity, no matter his or her socioeconomic class.“Education is a right, not a privilege,” she said. “College for all.”Tags: BridgeND, capitalism, income inequality, socioeconomic, Viewpoint Notre Dame students continued the campus-wide conversation about income inequality Tuesday night at a discussion hosted by BridgeND, featuring panelists Mimi Teixeira, Natasha Reinfenberg, Liam O’Connor, Raymond Michuda and Armani Niko Porter. (Editor’s note: Each of the panelists have previously submitted columns or letters to the editor about income inequality to The Observer’s Viewpoint section. BridgeND also runs a bi-weekly column in The Observer.)
Rosie LoVoi | The Observer A student speaks at Monday’s “Making Change at Walmart” rally on Monday at Fieldhouse Mall.The Human Rights Club, College Democrats and ND Students for Worker Justice collaborated with MCAW to host the event. Though their missions are different, Sofia Carozza, vice president of ND Students for Worker Justice, said that her organization was happy to help organize the event.“We are focused on getting our voice out on getting people to take action on the principles that they believe in,” Carozza said. “Whether it’s because of their Catholic faith or a different faith, but to really emphasize how these principles have an impact on your daily life and there are concrete steps that you as a student, as a consumer, can take to actually make a difference. It’s a great way to get our voice out by collaborating with them.”Throughout the event, the speakers each emphasized the importance of standing up against the way Walmart treats its workers through their own experiences.“Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, the largest employer in the U.S. and the most powerful private entity in terms of shaping our economy and politics today,” professor Daniel Graff, director of the Higgins Labor Program and speaker at the rally, said. “Not just in the U.S., but in China and all points in between.”Graff said that along with low prices come low wages for staff, minimal healthcare and the inability of workers to unionize. People should come together and stand up against injustices such as this, Graff said, citing Catholic Social Teaching. Professor Paul Mishler, a professor at Indiana University South Bend, said Walmart is setting the standard for the American business model by pushing workers harder and paying them lower wages. Mishler said through its actions Walmart is a part of Trump’s political plan.“Trump represents the personification of what Walmart represents as an institution,” he said. “All of the horror, all of the grotesqueness and the racism and the sexism, all of the commitment to enriching the wealthy at the expense of everyone else is part of the business plan of Walmart.”Yotisj Yoshi, a possible 2018 congressional candidate spoke from his perspective as a local business owner, stating that he is able to find both ways to have a competitive business as well as pay his employees a living wage and health insurance. He said that Walmart’s way of treating workers is “not the American way.”“Walmart is destroying lots and lots of small businesses just like Trump, who is destroying America by encouraging hatred towards minorities and women,” Yoshi said.Kel Beatty, president of the College Democrats, used the platform to call listeners to action. He said there are many corporations like Walmart who mistreat their workers and urged students to look off campus for opportunities to get involved.“As we all take part in these larger fights for racial justice, for economic justice, I think it’s important to remember the centrality that the fight for labor rights has for all of these,” Beatty said.Dominic Gardetto, president of ND Students for Worker Justice, agreed, and said the everyday actions that students can take to make a difference. “As consumers, we can practice conscious consumerism by purchasing products from companies that have ethical labor practices,” Gardetto said. “As members of a community we can foster respect for workers on our campus and in our dorms and as individuals it means finding a way to stand up for workers in whatever career you choose … you can always find a way to use your calling to ensure the dignity of your fellow humans. At the end of the day it is our duty to act.”Tags: rally, Trump, Walmart, workers’ rights Around 60 students, faculty and South Bend community leaders gathered at Fieldhouse Mall yesterday for the “Trump and Walmart Make America Worse” rally to garner awareness for education and worker injustices at Walmart. Raising signs that displayed slogans such as “Workers rights are humans rights” and “Stand up for a better America,” the group stood in solidarity as people from the Notre Dame faculty, students and South Bend community members spoke about the issues.This is the latest stop of the Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) movement’s tour of 25 colleges around the country. Anahi Tapia, the organizer for the Midwest region, said the organization is touring colleges with their message because they believe that college-aged students can make a difference.“We are trying to speak about Trump and Walmart’s shared agenda and shared values and how they’re destroying public education and jobs,” Tapia said.
Ann Curtis | The Observer A student talks with a recruiter at the 2017 Fall Career Fair. The 2018 event will take place Wednesday in the Duncan Student Center and will feature a wide range of employers from various different sectors.Julie Gray, associate director of operations and event services at the Career Center, noted that the fair also offers students a chance to build rapport with businesses, as well as offering students an additional opportunity to interact with these companies in a casual, low-pressure environment, she added.Ryan Willerton, associate vice president of career and professional development, believes the career fair’s new location in the Duncan Student Center will provide a more hospitable experience to its visitors. In addition to its other amenities, the student center houses the Career Center on the fifth floor. For Willerton, this feature will showcase students’ “holistic development.”The Career Center will provide employers with tours of the student center throughout the day, Willerton said.Edinborough said she recommends that all students attend the fair, even if they are not currently seeking employment opportunities.Kate Cover, events manager at the Career Center, added that while upperclassmen will benefit from the exposure to recruiters, freshmen will also find the event worthwhile because they can gain valuable experience engaging with employers.Willerton believes that exploration plays a central role in the career development process.“There is no better exploratory activity than seeing a variety of organizations, within a short period of time, within one facility,” Willerton said.There are opportunities for students of all grade levels, Edinborough said.“[From] first years to seniors, there’s something there for everybody,” she said.To prepare for the fair, Gray said students should consult “Go IRISH”, a database hosting information about jobs and internships available for Notre Dame students. There, students can find useful information about the fair, including what companies will be attending as well as the positions employers are seeking to fill.Before attending the fair, Gray said she recommends students be comfortable introducing themselves, discussing their major and extracurricular activities and demonstrating interest in the companies they engage with. The fair will also feature a counselor table for students should they need tips on how to best connect with employers.“Ask a question,” Gray said. “The conversation will flow from there.”Tags: Career Center, duncan student center, employers, professional development, Winter Career Fair The Notre Dame Career Center will host its annual Winter Career and Internship Fair on Wednesday afternoon on the seventh and eighth floors of the Duncan Student Center. The fair features representatives from hundreds of companies from across the country.LoriAnn Edinborough, director of employer engagement at the Career Center, explained that the main purpose of the fair is to provide an “opportunity for employers and students to meet face to face.”The fair is a unique chance for employers to share information about their organization and discuss employment opportunities, Edinborough said. Likewise, she added, it allows students to familiarize themselves with the businesses they’re interested in.
At their first meeting after Thanksgiving break, Notre Dame’s student senate continued a conversation from their previous meeting about students with disabilities. At their meeting immediately before Thanksgiving break, the senate heard a presentation from Scott Howland, coordinator of the Sara Bea Center for Students with Disabilities and Dr. Bill Stackman, the University’s associate vice president for student services. Howland outlined the services and accommodations that the Sara Bea Center offers to students, and Stackman led a discussion about a recent STAT article about a prospective Notre Dame student who is said to have requested a single room because his epilepsy required him to get a uninterrupted night’s sleep. According to the article, Notre Dame denied the request and the student ultimately enrolled in another university. A week after the original discussion, members of the group still had insights to share about the discussion. Junior and Welsh Family Hall senator Lindsay McCray brought up a point that sophomore senator Erin Hiestand of Ryan Hall made the previous week. Hiestand and McCray encouraged senators to consider the burden that having an epileptic roommate would have placed on the roommate who didn’t have epilepsy.“How stressful would it be to know that if you accidentally wake up your roommate or do anything wrong in your room, ever, to mess up his sleep schedule, you could actually potentially kill your roommate,” McCray said. Sophomore and Fisher Hall senator David Morris added Stackman said this situation has arisen before and students with disabilities have been accommodated at Notre Dame.“I talked to the doctor afterwards, and they have a very set protocol and a way to help students with epilepsy,” Morris said. “He talked to me about how that works, and that there are not a lot of students with epilepsy who live in doubles on this campus, but this situation has happened before, and all the other students that had epilepsy were able to live in doubles their freshman year.”The Senate also confirmed a new co-director of First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) because current co-director, sophomore Clark Bowden, chose to study abroad in the spring. Senior and student body president Gates McGavick, senior and student body vice president Corey Gayheart and senior and chief of staff Briana Tucker nominated sophomore Ryan Mullin for the position in a letter. The letter said Bowden and FUEL co-director sophomore Rachel Ingal recommend Mullin. In his year and a half at Notre Dame, Mullin has been involved in FUEL, as well as the University Affairs and Student Life departments of student government, the letter said. Mullin also served as a Judicial Council peer advocate, a part of the Student International Business Club travel team and an associate in Notre Dame’s Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion. “Critically, he has also expressed a clear understanding of Clark and Rachel’s vision for making FUEL a hands-on, involved group that puts motivated young students in position to succeed in student government,” McGavick said, reading the letter to the Senate. “He has made clear his desire to continue the impressive progress Clark and Rachel have made, and, as mentioned above, comes highly recommended by his predecessors.”After a vote, Mullin was confirmed by the senate for the position. Tags: FUEL, ND student senate, SARA BEA CENTER, Senate, stat