The new President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion aims to ensure campus leaders are striving to create a welcoming atmosphere for students, faculty and staff, University President Fr. John Jenkins told The Observer last month. “It’s important to realize that there are many good things that have happened [in the realm of diversity and inclusion],” Jenkins said. “We can talk ourselves into being discouraged, and I think we have to avoid that, on one hand. “On the other hand, I think there are things we need to work on at various parts of the University. I think in a lot of ways, I want to hold those things in balance. We made progress, but we have more to do.” On Sept. 10, Jenkins sent the Notre Dame community a letter announcing the committee’s formation. The letter, sent via email, stated Jenkins will chair the group. The committee also includes eight other members of the University’s administration. Members of the committee work in teams, each of which addresses the concerns of students, of faculty or of staff, Jenkins told The Observer. He said the committee considers diversity of race, ethnicity, nation of origin, socioeconomic class, gender and sexual orientation. “I think that we have made progress. The creation of the GLBTQ group [Prism-ND] is a big step forward, and I hope that’s successful,” Jenkins said. “But there are other areas of the University where maybe we need to think about, for instance, how to incorporate international students. … They bring great gifts, but perhaps we need to make sure that they’re fully included. … Sometimes individuals from underrepresented minorities … feel that Notre Dame could be more welcoming.” Jenkins said diversity accords with a sense of fairness – that everyone should have access to a Notre Dame education, regardless of his or her background. He said the University’s Catholic mission and its intention to create a positive atmosphere on campus also inform its commitment to promoting diversity. “A more diverse and inclusive campus is a better educational environment,” Jenkins said. “I think we learn, students and faculty and everyone on campus learns, not only in formal classes from teachers, but from one another. And insofar as we can have a broader array of perspectives on matters, I think it’s a better education.” Jenkins said he charged committee members with identifying areas in which the University could be more diverse or inclusive. “I’ve asked them to just look at the landscape, analyze where we are, what’s going on, what can we improve on and then to formulate various plans,” he said. “How can we get better? What can we do to continue to make progress, to address the issues that need to be addressed?” During the group’s first meeting in October, members shared the initiatives each team is working on and the challenges they face, Jenkins said. “Then on a second meeting, we sort of got into a level of somewhat greater detail,” he said. The committee is meant to hold administrators accountable for working on issues of diversity and inclusion, Jenkins said. “One of the challenges of this is that everyone has so much on their plate. … But diversity and inclusion goes across all areas,” Jenkins said. “People can fail to keep focus on that. … If you have to go to a meeting, and the president’s there, you’ve got to be able to say something [about your progress in these areas]. “I think my role, our role in this committee, one of its roles, is to just make sure that we’re not losing focus, that we’re keeping our eye on the ball.” The teams will work together to address issues that bridge students, faculty and staff, Jenkins said. He said at one of the committee’s previous meetings, Matt Storin, senior project specialist for Student Affairs, mentioned students told him some classmates make comments that are unintentionally hurtful or marginalizing. “That was very helpful, for Matt to say that, because the people who work with the faculty can begin to think about, How can we make the classroom environment less marginalizing, more inclusive for people?” Jenkins said. The committee will meet at least quarterly, Ann Firth, the group’s vice chair and chief of staff in the Office of the President, said. She said the next meeting is scheduled for January. Jenkins said the group does not meet more frequently because the committee “sees that things are done, rather than does them.” “That’s the point of oversight,” he said. “What we have to do is meet and say, ‘Okay, here’s our plan, here’s our challenges.’ And then everybody goes and works on them and then comes back and says, ‘Here’s the progress we’ve made.’” The oversight group plans to communicate its progress in various ways, including town hall meetings with staff, similar meetings with students and the president’s annual address to the faculty, Jenkins said. Jenkins said the committee seeks to implement concrete changes on campus, but noticeable progress will not occur overnight. “If we don’t change anything, we wasted our time. But … it’s probably hard, steady work,” Jenkins said. “I think there’s sometimes a feeling that if you can do one thing, one dramatic thing, you can fix the problem. I don’t expect that to happen. I think it’s a hundred, maybe a thousand, small things that we just have to keep doing. And if one thing doesn’t work, we try another thing, and that’s how we’ll make progress. “We will not solve all the problems in the next few weeks, but it needs to be a campuswide effort to make the whole campus community more diverse and inclusive.” Associate News Editor Tori Roeck contributed to this report. Contact Marisa Iati at [email protected]
The St. Louis attorney who, along with his wife, who confronted Back Lives Matter protesters says the only thing that kept the “mobsters” at bay was the fact that the couple brandished guns. He got into it with CNN’s Chris Cuomo armed with his intelligence and came out the victor.“I believe in my heart of hearts that the only thing that kept those mobsters, that crowd, away from us is that we were standing there with guns,” Mark McCloskey, 63, recently was quoted saying. He also said he was a victim of terrorism.“If I was in the same situation, I’d do it all again,” the lawyer said in an interview at their mansion. “The bottom line was, I was there to protect my family and my house and myself.”Mark insisted the safety mechanisms on his AR-15 and his wife’s handgun were on when they confronted the group. He declined to say if either weapon was loaded.He said one protester called him by name and that another man kept getting closer “trying to look intimidating.”“I’m not a mind reader but he gave every impression of being there for assault purposes and to be physically threatening,” Mark said. “It got to the point where I was concerned that I might actually have to shoot.”Patricia said she called 911 but that cops never showed up. Her husband said he didn’t blame police because they are “underfunded, understaffed, overwhelmed.”The couple said that while they have heard from supporters, they also have been inundated with threats.“‘We’re gonna burn your house, this is gonna be my bedroom, my living room and bathroom after you’re dead,’” Mark cited as an example.
*Agrees eight-year CAF dealAfrican football’s top club and national team competitions are to be sponsored by French oil and gas company Total, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday.CAF said Total would take over from mobile phone company Orange as headline sponsor of its 10 competitions for the next eight years, starting with the African Nations Cup in Gabon in January.The value of the sponsorship deal was not disclosed but CAF hopes it will provide the impetus to develop football on the continent. “This partnership is a major milestone in our ongoing search for additional resources to accelerate African football’s development, bring its governance up to date, upgrade its sports infrastructure and advance its performance globally,” CAF president Issa Hayatou said in a statement.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Published on February 15, 2016 at 10:32 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ Pat McKenzie’s family is ingrained in the history of St. John’s (Minnesota) University. The former point guard and current head coach played from 2000-04, his father, Pat, played at the school from 1975-79 and his younger brother, Kevin, played from 2010-14.The three of them played in completely different eras, but all ended up playing for the same head coach.Jim Smith became the head coach of the Johnnies in 1964. On March 17 of last year, Smith retired after spending 51 years on the job. He didn’t go into the season knowing that it would be his last.“All of a sudden the decision seemed right,” Smith said.Smith is the winningest coach in Minnesota college basketball history on any level. His 786 wins rank second all-time in Division III history and 14th in NCAA history among all divisions. He had the best winning percentage in school history among coaches who were around for at least 20 games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSmith left his imprint on the university in more ways than one. He coached golf and cross country, among other sports, and even served two different stints as the athletic director. Now, McKenzie is tasked with replacing a man whose lasting legacy on the school spans over half a century.“I never once felt like he’s looking over my shoulder or I’m in his shadow,” McKenzie said. “If anything, I feel like he’s got his arm around my shoulder.”McKenzie, who was an assistant under Smith for the last nine years, said that there were nerves and anxious moments when he first took over. But as his young head coaching career has progressed, it’s become easier for him with the continued level of support from his former boss.Smith said that he would be there to help McKenzie whenever he needed it, but he stressed that he would try and remain as hands-off as possible.McKenzie was hired on April 15, just under a month after Smith’s retirement decision came. He felt cautiously optimistic that he would get the job after talking with people around the community.Still, he had to go through the full process of applying and interviewing with the committee that was formed to look for Smith’s replacement. One of the members on the committee was Mitchell Kuck, who was just finishing his junior year.The committee did its best to remain unbiased and to give a fair shot to every candidate, according to Kuck. But he also acknowledged that people in the community had a feeling that McKenzie was preparing to get the job for whenever his predecessor decided to retire.Kuck said that the players recognize that McKenzie is naturally more intense and serious than Smith was, though he credits that to Smith’s long tenure and McKenzie’s inexperience at the helm. But his favorite moment from this season broke the norm. After getting their first win of the season, McKenzie celebrated and shouted with the rest of his players in the locker room.“It was just a great memory for me, and it was something I’d never seen out of him before,” Kuck said.McKenzie conducts a few things differently now that Smith is gone. He focuses more on the players’ strength and conditioning and runs practice in a more structured manner.With the Johnnies entering a new phase in their programs history after 51 years of relative consistency, it’s up to McKenzie to find a way to continue the success. Comments