Notre Dame News https://news.nd.edu/ Notre Dame News gathers and disseminates information that enhances understanding of the University’s academic and research mission and its accomplishments as a Catholic institute of higher learning. en-us 2019-02-22T22:41:44+0000 AP-TIP IN teacher named 2019 AP Teacher of the Year for Midwestern region https://news.nd.edu/news/ap-tip-in-teacher-named-2019-ap-teacher-of-the-year-for-midwestern-region/ news_96923 2019-02-21T13:05:00-0500 Melissa Pavloff Jonathan Arndt, a math teacher at Argos Junior/Senior High School, has been named the 2019 AP Teacher of the Year for the College Board’s 13-state Midwestern region. 

AP-TIP IN teacher named 2019 AP Teacher of the Year for Midwestern region

Melissa Pavloff

Jonathan Arndt, a math teacher at Argos Junior/Senior High School, has been named the 2019 AP Teacher of the Year for the College Board’s 13-state Midwestern region. 

Arndt teaches AP Calculus AB, algebra, precalculus and eighth-grade math, in addition to overseeing a math lab. He is a member of the University of Notre Dame’s Indiana Advanced Placement Teacher Investment Program (AP-TIP IN), which prepares Indiana students for college by increasing enrollment in AP math, science and English courses and providing student support and teacher training to boost students’ success.

“It’s truly an honor to be named teacher of the year,” Arndt said. “I want to thank AP-TIP IN, which gave me the skills and confidence to improve my teaching, and I want to thank my students. They’re the reason I won this award.” 

“Jonathan is dedicated to the Argos community and his colleagues, and he is passionately supportive of his students,” said Karen Morris, the program director of AP-TIP IN. “Working at a small school can be a challenge for any AP teacher. Jonathan stands out because his effort has impacted a significant number of students at a small school.” 

Argos is a small school about 30 miles south of South Bend that serves about 220 students. When Arndt first taught AP Calculus AB in 2015-16, just a handful of Argos students enrolled and earned qualifying scores — defined as scoring a three or above on the end-of-year AP exam. 

Arndt joined AP-TIP IN in 2016-17 and participated in more than 50 hours of professional development workshops and curriculum. AP-TIP IN primarily focuses on teacher development and providing support and resources such as a fall conference, a mock exam reading, regional teacher meetings and an AP Summer Institute.

Following the first year of Arndt’s AP-TIP IN support, nearly 20 Argos students enrolled in his AP Calculus AB course, and more than half earned qualifying scores. These qualifying scores accounted for half of all the school’s passing AP scores, and more than half of Arndt’s AP students earned a four or five on the AP exam.

“Jonathan is the most professional teacher I’ve worked with,” said Argos Principal Nick Medich. “Every student who takes his AP course expects to pass it. He’s established a culture where they expect to do well and pass the AP exam.” 

“Jonathan has an intimate knowledge of his students as learners, and this helps him identify their needs and elevate their success,” Morris said. “His students recognize this — they describe him as always willing to help and be positive.”

Arndt was selected by a College Board committee that included representatives from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He is the first AP-TIP IN participant to be named a regional AP teacher of the year.


Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu

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Supreme Court memorial cross case to help clarify law regarding public religious symbols, expert says https://news.nd.edu/news/supreme-court-memorial-cross-case-to-help-clarify-law-regarding-public-religious-symbols-expert-says/ news_96914 2019-02-21T10:00:00-0500 Shannon Roddel Notre Dame Law School Professor Richard W. Garnett says The American Legion v. American Humanist Association “presents a new opportunity for the justices to clarify the law regarding public religious symbols.”

Supreme Court memorial cross case to help clarify law regarding public religious symbols, expert says

Shannon Roddel

A 40-feet-tall, concrete Latin cross that stands on public land at a busy traffic intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland, honoring World War I dead is under the microscope in a Supreme Court case that gets underway Wednesday (Feb. 27).

 

Does the monument violate the First Amendment, which prohibits government establishments of religion?

 

The cross has been standing for more than 90 years, but Notre Dame Law School Professor Richard W. Garnett says The American Legion v. American Humanist Association “presents a new opportunity for the justices to clarify the law regarding public religious symbols.”

 

Rick GarnettRick Garnett

“The court’s decisions and doctrines having to do with religious symbols and displays are notoriously unpredictable and manipulable,” says Garnett, founding director of Notre Dame Law School’s Program on Church, State and Society. “For more than three decades, justices’ opinions in these cases have consisted mainly of speculation about the messages various symbols convey to imaginary observers. They have seemed to be a better fit with the HGTV channel than the U.S. Reports.”

 

Although the rules regarding matters such as mandatory religious exemptions or school choice for children attending parochial schools are fairly clear and usable, the justices have been unable to settle on a method for evaluating religious holiday displays, depictions of the Ten Commandments and war-memorial crosses.

 

“The pending war memorial case is the first ‘clean’ religious-symbols case in almost 15 years and, during that time, six new justices have joined the court,” Garnett says. “The court is very unlikely to say that the Constitution forbids the display or use of religious symbols — including crosses — on public property. Such a ruling would put the justices in stark and uncomfortable conflict with longstanding practices. However, some of the justices will likely be looking for a compromise solution that could ‘grandfather’ in older memorials that incorporate crosses while discouraging new ones.” 

 

“The big question,” Garnett noted, “is whether a majority of the Court is ready to endorse the view that Justices Scalia and Thomas have been proposing for some time — namely, that because memorials and displays using religious symbols do not coerce religious activities or entangle church and state, they are simply not ‘establishments’ of religion. If not, we can expect challenges like this, and confusion about how to resolve them, to continue.”       

 

Garnett, the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor and concurrent professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, clerked for the late Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist during the court’s 1996 term. He teaches and writes about the freedoms of speech, association, and religion and constitutional law more generally and is a leading authority on the role of religious believers and beliefs in politics and society.

 

Contact: Richard W. Garnett, 574-631-6981, rgarnett@nd.edu

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Idea Week hosts country music star Scotty McCreery https://news.nd.edu/news/idea-week-hosts-country-music-star-scotty-mccreery/ news_96833 2019-02-21T09:00:00-0500 Nick Swisher Country music star Scotty McCreery, who scored recent back-to-back No. 1 hits with “Five More Minutes” and “This is It,” will perform at Elkhart’s Lerner Theater on Idea Week’s Elkhart Day, April 10.

Idea Week hosts country music star Scotty McCreery

Nick Swisher

Country music star Scotty McCreery, who scored recent back-to-back No. 1 hits with “Five More Minutes” and “This is It,” will perform at Elkhart’s Lerner Theater on Idea Week’s Elkhart Day, April 10.

McCreery joins fellow Idea Week headliners Jim Gaffigan at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend on March 6, Michael Carbonaro at the Morris on April 9 and Tim McGraw at Purcell Pavilion on April 13. Idea Week is April 8-13.

“Idea Week is an innovation festival,” said event director Nick Swisher. “While world-renowned speakers like Bill Nye and Kevin Kelly represent the learning side of Idea Week, acts like Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw represent the fun and creative side.”

Idea Week is hosted by the University of Notre Dame, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership and various community organizations and businesses. The event will include more than 50 sessions in four categories: Learn, Play, Meet and Compete.

The award-winning McCreery —  Academy of Country Music, Broadcast Music Inc., CMT, Nashville Songwriters Association International — first gained fame by winning “American Idol” in 2011. He recently released “Seasons Change,” his fourth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on a Billboard albums chart. He published his first book, “Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream,” in 2016. He is also known for such hits as “See You Tonight,” “Feelin’ It,” “The Trouble with Girls,” “I Love You This Big” and “Water Tower Town.”

Tickets to see McCreery range from $40 to $70 and go on sale at noon Feb. 28 (Thursday) at the Lerner box office, by phone at 800-294-8223 and online at www.thelerner.com.

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu

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Notre Dame Security Police to be renamed Notre Dame Police Department https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-security-police-to-be-renamed-notre-dame-police-department/ news_96876 2019-02-21T08:30:00-0500 Marissa Gebhard The Notre Dame Security Police Department will be renamed the Notre Dame Police Department, effective March 1, to bring clarity for both the campus community and partners in law enforcement, more accurately portray the enforcement duties of the department and reinforce the department as a sworn police force.

Notre Dame Security Police to be renamed Notre Dame Police Department

Marissa Gebhard

The Notre Dame Security Police Department will be renamed the Notre Dame Police Department, effective March 1, to bring clarity for both the campus community and partners in law enforcement, more accurately portray the enforcement duties of the department and reinforce the department as a sworn police force.

After completing an extensive study, including discussions with campus constituents and consultations with chiefs of police at peer institutions, the University of Notre Dame has made the name change and is creating a greater distinction in the duties and uniforms of police officers and other campus security personnel. Namely, only police officers will be responsible for responding to calls, and only officers will be on patrol and drive patrol vehicles with red and blue light bars on top. Notre Dame police officers will continue to wear navy blue shirts and pants while outreach, engagement and safety inspection staff will wear green shirts and khaki pants.

“When someone calls the Notre Dame Police Department, they will be speaking with a police officer,” said Keri Kei Shibata, chief of police at Notre Dame. “And, only our officers will respond to emergencies and patrol campus, so our students, visitors, faculty and staff will know what they can expect from the officer.”  

The outreach and engagement coordinators will manage community outreach and crime prevention programs, such as personal defense, sexual assault prevention and other training sessions for self-defense, while the safety and inspection technicians will perform routine checks across campus.

The Notre Dame Police Department will continue to be focused on its mission to serve the Notre Dame community and support the University’s mission by providing a safe, well-ordered environment in collaboration with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

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US military action in Venezuela would violate international law, expert says https://news.nd.edu/news/us-military-action-in-venezuela-would-violate-international-law-expert-says/ news_96885 2019-02-20T14:45:00-0500 Shannon Roddel Trump condemned socialism and voiced strong support for the self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, but Mary Ellen O’Connell, Notre Dame Law School professor and renowned expert on international law, raised concerns about Trump’s statement.

US military action in Venezuela would violate international law, expert says

Shannon Roddel

President Donald Trump on Monday (Feb. 19) stopped short of expressly threatening military action in Venezuela when he urged the country to remove its disputed socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country.

 

Trump condemned socialism and voiced strong support for the self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, but Mary Ellen O’Connell, Notre Dame Law School professor and renowned expert on international law, raised concerns about Trump’s statement: “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.” She says if that means attacking, it would be in clear violation of international law.

 

“President Trump has invoked the standard code for using military force against Venezuela,” O’Connell says. “Attacking for any reason, however, would violate the most fundamental of all international law — the prohibition on the use of force. International law permits force in response to an armed attack in self-defense, but not for regime change, to secure oil or even to distribute food.”

 

Venezuela’s government closed down a maritime border and grounded flights as the opposition party seeks to import foreign aid. People in the country are struggling to get enough food and medicine, but Maduro’s government is trying to prevent aid from getting in. He says the country doesn’t need it, though conditions have been so dire that more than 3 million people have fled Venezuela.

 

“Regardless of how odious Maduro is, he is in effective control,” O’Connell says. “Under international law, he is treated as the head of government. The fact the U.S. and other states have recognized opposition leader Guaidó as the legitimate president is irrelevant for these purposes. Guaidó must win the support of the military and other Maduro backers to govern. It is governing that matters, not the preferences of outside states.”

 

O’Connell says military action will cause as much pain as it might relieve for suffering Venezuelans.

 

“There are no ‘humanitarian wars,’” she says. “Nor is military confrontation a way to promote good governance and the rule of law. The U.S. has become so accustomed to using military force — from full-scale invasions to constant drone attacks — we don’t seem to be able to think of anything else to do.

 

“But the world is changing. The U.S. is no longer the only superpower. We cannot dictate terms to others. A country in our position needs the law to constrain competitors and to promote cooperation. We cannot dismiss international law as only binding on other states. Indeed, the U.S. needs law more than ever to constrain imperious presidents — at home and abroad.”

 

O’Connell, the University of Notre Dame’s Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and research professor of international dispute resolution, is author of “The Popular but Unlawful Armed Reprisal,” published in the Ohio Northern Law Review, and is co-author of “Self-Defense against Non-State Actors.”

 

Last spring, O’Connell served as a Fulbright Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. She also has been a professional military educator for the U.S. Department of Defense.

 

Contact: Mary Ellen O’Connell, maryellenoconnell@nd.edu

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Matthew Webber receives American Diabetes Association’s Accelerator Award https://news.nd.edu/news/matthew-webber-receives-american-diabetes-associations-accelerator-award/ news_96863 2019-02-19T15:00:00-0500 Jessica Sieff The ADA announced it will fund a $1.625 million Accelerator Award to Matthew Webber, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering, to research and develop materials capable of sensing critical drops in blood glucose.

Matthew Webber receives American Diabetes Association’s Accelerator Award

Jessica Sieff

For parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, the threat of a hypoglycemic episode can keep them awake at night. Critically low blood glucose levels can lead to seizures, coma or death. With no warning of a sudden drop, some parents will wake up several times each night to check their child’s blood glucose level while they sleep. Sleep loss and stress can impact the parents’ own health and well-being — putting added strain on the whole family.

The issue is central to a five-year research effort funded by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The ADA announced it will fund a $1.625 million Accelerator Award to Matthew Webber, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, to research and develop materials capable of sensing critical drops in blood glucose.

Presently, dangerously low hypoglycemia is treated by injecting glucagon, a hormone that counteracts the function of insulin to raise blood glucose levels. This places the responsibility of noticing such an episode and responding in time directly onto diabetics and their caregivers. “There is a significant challenge to developing a synthetic form of glucagon that would remain in the body but be inactive until such a time as blood glucose levels become dangerously low, when it would become active,” said Webber. “This is something that has never been done before. Our team will explore different chemistries and methods for protein activation over the course of the study.”

Research would focus on development of glucose-responsive glucagon. If successful, glucose-responsive glucagon could be administered to patients with Type 1 diabetes in a manner similar to an EpiPen before bed. Sensing a critical drop in blood glucose, the modified glucagon could be activated to restore normal glucose levels and alleviate the severe risks associated with hypoglycemia. “If we are successful, this new approach would act as an insurance policy, offering peace of mind to diabetic individuals and their caregivers.” Webber’s previous work includes developing synthetically modified insulin with glucose-modulated potency, capable of correcting blood glucose levels quickly to manage the disease more accurately.

The Accelerator Awards are designed to support early-career investigators, and are part of a larger initiative by the American Diabetes Association known as the Pathway to Stop Diabetes, seeking to recruit investigators across disciplines in an effort to radically transform diabetes research.       

Contact: Jessica Sieff, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-3933, jsieff@nd.edu

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Kroc Professor Emeritus John Paul Lederach to receive 2019 Niwano Peace Prize https://news.nd.edu/news/kroc-professor-emeritus-john-paul-lederach-to-receive-2019-niwano-peace-prize/ news_96827 2019-02-19T11:00:00-0500 kroc.nd.edu The annual award, presented by the Japan-based Niwano Peace Foundation, honors those devoted to interreligious cooperation in service of world peace.

Kroc Professor Emeritus John Paul Lederach to receive 2019 Niwano Peace Prize

kroc.nd.edu

John Paul Lederach has been selected as the recipient of the 36th Niwano Peace Prize. Lederach is professor emeritus of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and a senior fellow at Humanity United. The annual award, presented by the Japan-based Niwano Peace Foundation, honors those devoted to interreligious cooperation in service of world peace.

 

Lederach was chosen by the Niwano Peace Prize Committee through an annual process that involves soliciting hundreds of nominations from individuals around the world. In its statement announcing Lederach’s award, the selection committee emphasized his role in the development and teaching of peace theory and strategy, as well as his on-the-ground peacebuilding work around the world, including in Colombia, Nepal, Northern Ireland and the Philippines.  

 

“What we hear today is not good news with extremism, organized violence and authoritarian regimes who are not honoring the rule of law. With this ongoing situation, urgent and important work includes influencing and cultivating a culture of peace among these societies and communities,” said committee member Harsha Kumara Navaratne. “Dr. John Paul [Lederach]’s contribution to conflict transformation through his teaching, training, practicing and his own organizational network has given tremendous inspiration and courage to peace activists and practitioners around the world.”

 

Lederach will travel to Tokyo, Japan, to receive the award on May 8 and to give a speech during a formal ceremony attended by select global peace leaders and Japanese dignitaries. As part of the award, Lederach will receive a certificate, a gold medal and 20 million yen (roughly $180,000).

 

“I am grateful and humbled to receive the 36th Niwano Peace Prize,” wrote Lederach in his acceptance letter. “Your recognition gives me courage that our global beloved family can move beyond hate, division and exclusion and create the bonds that truly heal.”

 

Lederach joined the Kroc Institute faculty in 1999. He is widely known for his pioneering work in conflict transformation, and has helped to design and conduct training programs in 25 countries across five continents. He was instrumental in curriculum design for Kroc’s Master’s in International Peace Studies (now part of the Master of Global Affairs program at Notre Dame’s Keough School).

 

“John Paul embodies the model of the scholar-practitioner that we emphasize here,” said Asher Kaufman, John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute. “Most importantly, his concept of strategic peacebuilding has become the organizing principle for all of our educational programs and activities here at Kroc.”

 

Lederach also facilitated the development of strong relationships between the Kroc Institute and peacebuilders in Colombia and to promote nonviolent conflict transformation throughout the country. These efforts were documented in a 2007 short film, “Fighting for Peace,” as part of Notre Dame’s “What Would You Fight For?” video series. In August 2013, Lederach was appointed director of Kroc’s Peace Accords Matrix project, which would later be tasked with monitoring the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 peace accord under the direction of David Cortright.

 

Lederach is the author of 22 books, including "The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace" (Oxford University Press, 2005) and "Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies" (USIP, 1997). He is also a Distinguished Scholar at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, part of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

 

The Niwano Peace Foundation established the Niwano Peace Prize in 1983 “to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to interreligious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace, and to make their achievements known as widely as possible.” The prize is named in honor of Nikkyo Niwano, the founder and first president of the Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai.

 

Past recipients of the prize include the Adyan Foundation in Lebanon (2018), His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan (2008), Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel (2006), the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative in Uganda (2004) and Marii K. Hasegawa of the United States (1996).

 

The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace.

 

Contact: Colleen Sharkey, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-9958, csharke2@nd.edu

Originally published by kroc.nd.edu at kroc.nd.edu on Feb. 19.

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TRiO Programs host 17th annual Student and Parent Leadership Conference https://news.nd.edu/news/trio-programs-host-17th-annual-student-and-parent-leadership-conference/ news_96836 2019-02-19T10:00:00-0500 Nijinsky Dix The annual Student and Parent Leadership Conference is Feb. 23 in honor of National TRiO Day, an effort that brings awareness to the needs of first-generation, low-income students while celebrating the accomplishments of TRiO participants.

TRiO Programs host 17th annual Student and Parent Leadership Conference

Nijinsky Dix

Next>Now

The University of Notre Dame’s TRiO Programs will host their 17th annual Student and Parent Leadership Conference on Feb. 23 (Saturday) in honor of National TRiO Day, an effort that brings awareness to the needs of first-generation, low-income students while celebrating the accomplishments of TRiO participants.

This year’s conference promises to be inspiring and informative for the 250 guests expected to attend — including TRiO students from around the state and Chicagoland area. Together, conference attendees will celebrate TRiO’s impact on students and communities, act to further promote access to higher education for marginalized populations, and reflect on the important role education plays in creating a more inclusive, diverse and globally connected society.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Next>Now,” a powerful call to action for students and parents alike to remain diligent and dedicated in the pursuit of excellence.

The conference will will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Notre Dame Conference Center (McKenna Hall). It will begin with a college fair and continental breakfast followed by the plenary session — including institutional and community welcomes, a brief history of TRiO Programs, remarks from elected officials, and the keynote address at 9:30 a.m. Conference participants will then attend concurrent sessions offered on topics such as college and career readiness, financial literacy, and diversity and inclusion in academic spaces. The day will conclude with a luncheon and awards ceremony beginning at 12:15 p.m., which will include a feature presentation by Loretta Davidson, a Notre Dame TRiO Talent Search alumna and Purdue University alumna. To provide a dose of Irish luck, a campus tour will be provided by ND Admissions.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist and actor David Banner.

Sponsors for this year’s conference include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Multicultural Student Programs and Services at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, Black Faculty and Staff Association at Notre Dame, Notre Dame Community Relations Department, First Year Studies at Notre Dame, and Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen.

TRiO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. The programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. Notre Dame’s TRiO Programs have served first-generation and low-income students since the 1960s. For more information, visit trio.nd.edu.

Contact: Nijinsky Dix, director, TRiO Programs, 574-631-6835, ndix@nd.edu

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Rice and Kerry to discuss finding consensus on US foreign policy https://news.nd.edu/news/rice-and-kerry-to-discuss-finding-consensus-on-us-foreign-policy/ news_96829 2019-02-19T09:00:00-0500 Colleen Sharkey The University of Notre Dame’s International Security Center (NDISC) and Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, together with Common Ground Committee and BridgeND (a chapter of BridgeUSA), will host former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry at a March 19 forum titled “Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World” at Leighton Concert Hall at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Rice and Kerry to discuss finding consensus on US foreign policy

Colleen Sharkey

The University of Notre Dame’s International Security Center (NDISC) and Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, together with Common Ground Committee and BridgeND (a chapter of BridgeUSA), will host former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry at a March 19 forum titled “Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World” at Leighton Concert Hall at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The event is sold out. 

Common Ground Committee

The forum will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will be moderated by Howard LaFranchi, diplomacy correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.

“We look forward to a fascinating and productive conversation between Secretaries Rice and Kerry, two experienced leaders in American foreign policy,” said Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center. “The Rooney Center and our partners are delighted to bring this unique and exciting dialogue to Notre Dame to educate and inform the campus community, as well as contribute to pressing national policy debates.”

In 2014, then Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled the official portrait of former secretary Rice — a Notre Dame alumna — at a White House ceremony that the Associated Press called “a rare display of bipartisan civility.” With many studies and surveys showing that the U.S. population has become more politically divided, civil discourse has taken a hit.

Although, according to a Pew Research study, about 72 percent of the public say that taking measures to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks should be a top priority for the country, opinions on specific foreign policy goals differ sharply between Democrats and Republicans. For example, 70 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe that military superiority should be a top U.S. priority, while only 34 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning individuals believe it’s paramount.

Another significant rift concerns refugees and immigration. About 39 percent of Democrats support aiding refugees fleeing violence as a top foreign policy issue, while only 11 percent of Republicans support this kind of aid. The partisan divide on the importance of reducing illegal immigration is even bigger and at its widest point in two decades with 68 percent of Republicans seeing it as a priority versus 20 percent of Democrats.

BridgeND

“It is a privilege for NDISC to partner with the Rooney Center, BridgeND and the Common Ground Committee to host this timely and essential discussion of what should be the new common ground for American foreign policy moving forward,” said Michael Desch, professor of political science and director of NDISC. “Such a conversation rightly begins with elder statespersons like former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry but eventually will have to include different and younger voices as well. There is no better place to bring them all together than Notre Dame’s campus.”

In keeping with the Common Ground Committee mission of “bringing light, not heat, to public discourse,” CGC co-founder and chief executive officer Bruce Bond emphasized the importance of leaders having civil, productive conversations.

“Secretaries Rice and Kerry have consistently represented the country’s better instincts on discourse,” Bond said. “Despite working for administrations that had very different views on foreign policy, attendees of this event can look forward to a robust but civil conversation between these two leaders as they provide insight and find common ground on America’s role in the world.”

BridgeND was founded on the belief that democracy depends on the ability to engage with opposing viewpoints in a civil manner.

“Secretaries Kerry and Rice are both exemplars of BridgeND’s mission, and we are thrilled to help bring these two distinguished speakers to Notre Dame’s campus to demonstrate the possibilities of constructive discourse,” said Christian McGrew, former president of BridgeND and current executive board member of BridgeUSA. 

Contact: Colleen Sharkey, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-9958, csharke2@nd.edu

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Law School students pay it forward in work with Clay High School mock trial team https://news.nd.edu/news/law-school-students-pay-it-forward-in-work-with-clay-high-school-mock-trial-team/ news_96806 2019-02-18T11:55:00-0500 Erin Blasko With help from Notre Dame Law School students, expectations are high this year ahead of regionals later this month and the annual state competition in March.

Law School students pay it forward in work with Clay High School mock trial team

Erin Blasko

Five miles separate Clay and John Adams high schools in South Bend. But when it comes to mock trial, the two public high schools, both part of the South Bend Community School Corp., have been worlds apart for most of the past two decades.

Adams, an international baccalaureate magnet school, has won 18 state championships and two national championships in 18 years.

Clay, a visual and performing arts magnet school, has never advanced past regionals, and until last year, went three years without a win at any level of competition.

But things are changing.

Thanks, in part, to head coach Henry Leaman, a second-year Law School student at the University of Notre Dame, Clay went 2-4 in regional competition last year and nearly advanced to state for the first time in school history.

This despite a shorthanded coaching staff composed of Leaman, the only full-time coach with any legal experience; two local attorneys; a faculty sponsor with no legal experience; and a Notre Dame undergraduate with mock trial experience.

“We went into the final round with our destiny in our hands,” said Leaman, a native of St. Charles, Illinois, outside Chicago. “If we had split the round, we would have gone to state. We lost by minus-2 points on each ballot.

“It was crushing,” Leaman said. “But it’s made us incredibly hungry.”

Hoping to build on that success, Leaman recruited five additional Law School students, including first-year student Paris Mayfield, of suburban Dallas, Texas, as assistant coaches this offseason.

It’s a welcome change for Clay, which had no Law School students on board just three years ago and which is only beginning to establish long-term relationships with the local legal community — unlike Adams, whose list of current and former coaches includes local judges and attorneys with ties to the Law School as well as students, faculty and staff from the Law School itself. Law students and faculty have also traditionally helped coach mock trial teams at other local high schools, including Saint Joseph High School.

Not coincidentally, expectations at Clay are high this year ahead of regionals later this month and the annual state competition in March.

“I think we have a great chance to get to state, and that’s my hope,” said Dianna Christopher, an English teacher at Clay and the team’s longtime faculty sponsor.

If so, Christopher said, the Law School students deserve credit.

“They’ve been phenomenal,” she said.

‘Much better prepared’

Clay High School Mock Trial teams scrimmage on an evening at Clay High School with Notre Dame Law Students in attendance to act as judges and give feedback and advice. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre DameClay High School Mock Trial teams scrimmage on an evening at Clay High School with Notre Dame Law Students in attendance to act as judges and give feedback and advice. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

As practiced at the high school level, mock trial is an academic competition in which students participate in a simulated trial in order to learn about the legal system and develop valuable skills in the areas of leadership, public speaking, rhetoric and persuasion.

In Indiana, the State Bar Association hosts the state competition each year. The foundation releases case materials, including complaints and responses, witness lists and statements and jury instructions, in the fall. Regional competition takes place in February. State competition takes place in March.

In preparation for this year’s competition, Clay’s varsity and junior varsity squads faced off in an early scrimmage in November.

Packed into a windowless classroom at Clay, the students acted as lawyers, prosecutors and witnesses in a fictional case involving a high school band director accused of endangering a student by making the student run outside in the heat as punishment for showing up late to practice.

The student, “Addison Cowell,” later collapsed from heat exhaustion, even as the rest of the band retreated inside, according to school policy, because of the dangerously hot and humid conditions.

In a sworn statement before the trial, the director, “Marion Roberts,” described Cowell as consistently tardy and otherwise difficult as lead trumpet.

“Have you had problems with other students?” Roberts’ attorney, dressed in a black skirt and sweater, a black-and-white striped top, black nylons and black pumps, asked Roberts during the scrimmage.

A co-counsel for Cowell, dressed in navy pants, brown flats, a white V-neck top and a black blazer, interjected. “Objection,” she said. And then, “Relevance.”

Nearby, a Law School student, wedged into a small desk, took notes. “Better eye contact,” the student wrote of Roberts’ attorney. “Less reliance on notes.”

The scrimmage lasted about two hours.

Afterward, the students and coaches hung around in the classroom and adjacent hallway talking about the case before exiting into the cool evening.

Veronica Navarro, a senior at Clay and a member of the varsity squad, served as co-counsel for Cowell, the plaintiff.

“Our performance tonight wasn’t the best that it could be, but looking back at the past two years, we are much better prepared,” Navarro said. “And honestly, we owe that all to the law students.”

Especially Leaman, said fellow senior Dakota Balding, also a member of the varsity squad.

“Henry has just turned our team around,” said Balding, who portrayed Cowell during the scrimmage.

Paying it forward

Notre Dame 2L Law Student Henry Leaman talks with members of the Clay High School Mock Trial team during an evening scrimmage at Clay High School. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.Notre Dame 2L Law Student Henry Leaman talks with members of the Clay High School Mock Trial team during an evening scrimmage at Clay High School. Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame.

Leaman, who coached his former high school mock trial team during college, and who has helped judge mock trial competitions in the past, gave most of the credit to the students.

In particular, he marveled at their mastery of the rules of evidence, which govern the proof of fact in a legal proceeding.

“We’ve had a lot of moments this year where even the freshmen are like, ‘Oh, Henry, this is like that rule of evidence we covered a couple of weeks ago,’” Leaman said. He noted, “There are law students who don’t remember the rules of evidence we’re covering.”

For Navarro, who hopes to someday attend law school, possibly at Notre Dame, the Law School students have been valuable personally as well.

“They make me feel really comfortable coming to them with questions,” Navarro said.

About Leaman, she said, “I’ve already harassed him with all of my questions about Notre Dame, with all of my questions about what I should study as an undergrad and if I should go to ND Law. And I feel as though he’s not only answering my questions, he’s helping me get there.”

Leaman also invited the students to tour campus and the Law School, and to learn about the law along the way, the weekend of the Notre Dame-Stanford football game in September.

But the benefits flow both ways.

For the Law School students, the experience is a welcome distraction from the regular routine of Law School, Leaman and Mayfield said, as well as a valuable opportunity to transfer the lessons of the classroom to the (fictional) courtroom.

“You spend so long in law school thinking about things that happened decades ago, names on a page, and being with the students helps remind you how arguments come across, how you compose yourself, and just who you are as a lawyer,” Leaman said.

Added Mayfield, who competed in speech and debate in high school, “In law school you get a lot of theoretical knowledge. But doing mock trial, seeing how a trial unfolds, is really practical. We get to consider a lot of things that we don’t consider in the classroom.”

It also provides an opportunity for the Law School students to venture off campus and into the community — “We barely get out to eat in South Bend, let alone interact with people,” Mayfield said, citing the all-consuming nature of law school — and to pay forward past investments.

About the latter, Leaman said, “I’ve had a lot of lawyers (sacrifice) billable hours to teach me things and really help me become the person I am today. So I get to kind of give back and help these students. And I know from being in their shoes how valuable that is.”

Christopher knows too.

“I couldn’t do it; I don’t have a law degree,” Christopher said. “So for them to give up their time for this, I can’t thank them enough.”

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