Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s community members reflect on issues particularly pertinent to women in the age of Trump

first_imgChris Collins Students assemble outside Main Building after the 2016 presidential election to protest Donald Trump’s leadership and to raise awareness about vulnerable populations.The national conversation surrounding the treatment of women in the U.S. continues on campus at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s a year after Trump’s election. From questions regarding potential changes in Title IX to Notre Dame’s flip-flopping stance on contraception coverage, these discussions have gained prominence in recent weeks.Sophomore Jessica D’Souza said the Notre Dame administration’s decision to stop allowing its third-party health insurance providers to cover contraception — a decision the University administration overturned just over a week later — was the first tangible effect Trump’s presidency has had on campus since the election.“The contraception thing is huge,” D’Souza said. “I’ve seen it shared from friends that don’t really know that I go to Notre Dame sharing it on their timelines like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the first effect that we’re really seeing in a way that directly impacts us.’ And it’s huge. I’ve seen it on news stories and in magazines and stuff.”The decision attracted so much attention after Trump’s rollback of the Affordable Care Act allowed organizations to choose whether or not to cover contraception because Notre Dame was the first university to openly take advantage of the change in policy. Senior Emily Garrett, who wrote an open letter in response to the University’s announcement to no longer allow third-party health insurers to provide contraception for its employees, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision.“It’s always to disappointing to hear that your employer or your place of higher education is suddenly just not covering your health care because they have a moral objection to it,” she said. “That’s just a weird concept to have to deal with — like something about my body or what I need to do to take care of my body is so offensive to you that you don’t want to help me do it. That’s kind of the vibe that we get, but it wasn’t shocking.”The response to the decision was so strong, D’Souza said, because of the gender politics that would be involved in such a policy change.“I know that people are afraid because … regardless of what your thought on contraception is, this is a policy that overwhelmingly affects women,” she said. “And the fact that the University is rolling back on contraception, to me, says somewhere that they don’t care about my education as much. Because we don’t have amazing pregnancy resources, we don’t have anything in place for women to take care of themselves.”Saint Mary’s senior Christina Herrera, however, said she believes Notre Dame does not have the responsibility to allow its health care providers to cover contraception due to its Catholic identity.“I think that the University needs to remember that it’s a Catholic school first and foremost and do everything accordingly,” Herrera said. “In reality, if women want [contraception], then they can buy it from the store. And honestly, if you can’t afford contraception or birth control or Plan B, you probably shouldn’t be having sex anyway.”This stance, Garrett said, discriminates against lower-income members of the community and does not account for married faculty members who might not want to have more children. She also pointed out that the University would not be paying for anyone’s contraception — third-party health care providers such as Aetna and Meritain would be paying for it.“I want this to be very, very clear — Notre Dame has never, nor will ever, pay for contraceptive care for their employees, students or staff,” she said. “ … I can’t tell you how many people have commented on articles or spoken to me in person and been like, ‘You can’t make a university pay for something they don’t believe in.’ But I’m like, ‘They’re not paying for it.’ They’re literally checking a box that says, yes, let Aetna cover it or no, don’t cover it.”Even if the University was covering the cost of contraception, D’Souza said, University administrators would not have the right to make a decision about someone else’s body and health care. D’Souza said she believes the number of people who spoke out against the administration’s original announcement is what caused the decision to be reversed.“I believe that the University is private and they can make a lot of decisions on their own,” she said. “But … if active members of this community have issues with health care … I think that the University as an entity that constantly talks about how it cares about student well-being, student health, student emotions [and] mental state, all that — I think that in order to uphold that claim, [the administration] also has an obligation to listen to what we have to say about things.”The University’s and College’s identities as Catholic institutions have not only played a large role in the discussion surrounding contraception since Trump’s election, but have also come into play during discussions concerning abortion. Anna Byrnes, a junior at Saint Mary’s who identifies as pro-life, said she has received pushback on her pro-life stance as a student at the College.“It’s very discouraging for me, especially in a Catholic community, because I am very pro-life,” she said. “I believe that life is sacred from conception to natural death, and so I’m not sure exactly why there’s so much division. Maybe it goes back to the root of what life is and what our role is in protecting life.”Other students have changed their opinions since coming to college, however. Saint Mary’s senior Olivia Bensett said the intellectual debate surrounding the issue of abortion on campus has led to her rethinking her stance on the subject.“My family is devout Catholics,” Bensett said. “I came to Saint Mary’s, and I was pro-life. But I’m leaving Saint Mary’s pro-choice. We’re constantly talking about the issues that impact women in classrooms, no matter what class you’re in. You could be in a mathematics classroom and still talk about women’s issues. You learn a lot from other girls talking about it.”Students are beginning to expand these intellectual debates even further, with more community members paying attention to the issue of sexual assault. Notre Dame junior and president of BridgeND Christian McGrew said he believes Trump’s election has drawn more attention to sexual assault in the U.S. over the past year.“There’s been, especially recently, a lot more awareness around the issue surrounding sexual assault,” he said. “People are taking it seriously now, which I think is a great thing, and it hasn’t been taken as seriously as in the past. I think that Trump being elected was a wake-up call and raised more awareness around this issue than if he hadn’t been.”In response to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinding Title IX protections put in place by President Barack Obama, students have started a “Stand 4 IX” campaign that asks University President Fr. John Jenkins to pledge to uphold Obama-era Title IX standards. Notre Dame junior Sabrina Barthelmes said her biggest concern relates to the standard of evidence universities are now allowed to use in determining the outcome of Title IX cases.“In my opinion, the worst change is that schools no longer have to use the preponderance of evidence standard — they can now choose between using that and clear and convincing,” Barthelmes said. “Which I think is detrimental to the progress we’ve been making in the fight for survivors’ rights. Notre Dame hasn’t made an official announcement about where they stand on any of this. … I’m concerned about what will happen when Notre Dame finally does decide to take a stance on it — because they’re going to have to.”Notre Dame junior Jeffrey Murphy, treasurer of the College Republicans, said while he believes sexual assault and survivors should be taken “super seriously,” he wants the University to switch to clear and convincing.“I hope everybody feels strongly about sexual assault and rape,” Murphy said. “ … I think the problem is, I don’t think sexual assault should be considered individually from the rest of the law. So I don’t think a more-likely-than-not scenario is good. It’s got to be beyond a reasonable doubt, because if someone is convicted of sexual assault, that’s a life-ruining conviction.”Barthelmes said absolute certainty is almost impossible to reach in cases of sexual assault, however.“I think some people think we can’t accuse innocent people of sexual assault, and I agree, we shouldn’t,” she said. “But I think, due to the nature of the crime, preponderance of evidence is the only standard that should be used. You’re never, ever — in 99 percent of cases, I would say, have clear and convincing evidence.”Only 2 to 8 percent of sexual assault reports are false, Barthelmes said, and the Title IX process involves several steps before a decision is reached.“Some people jump to the rights of the accused … [but] the process of Title IX and reporting and going through the entire [process] up until you get a decision is incredibly difficult,” she said. “ … It is not as easy as people coming from the side of the rights of the accused might think to get a guilty decision. And especially here at Notre Dame, we don’t do that very often.”The issue of determining what can actually be considered sexual assault is also something Murphy said he believes should be clearer, and he said he does not believe the problem is as pervasive as others make it out to be.“I do think sometimes this issue is exaggerated beyond the reality,” he said. “I think the majority of American men and women are good people. For example, I don’t think college campuses — I don’t think Notre Dame has a culture of sexual assault. I think most people here are … good people trying to do good things.”Whether the issue is contraception, abortion or Title IX, however, Herrera said she does not believe any one thing should ever be labeled as a “women’s issue.”“The worst thing you can ever say is ‘women’s issues’ because I think every issue is a women’s issue,” she said. “I don’t think our issues should be degraded down to our body parts, and that’s why it bothers me that some women are single-issue voters based on abortion. There are so many other issues that pertain to women, like tax, economics, immigration. Anything else can relate to them too.”Tags: Abortion, Contraception Coverage, Donald Trump, Pro-choice, Pro-life, sexual assault, Title IX Editor’s note: This is the third story in a three-part series addressing various political issues and their impact at Notre Dame one year after the 2016 election. Today’s story focuses on issues that most frequently affect women at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets for a series of women’s marches, drawing attention to challenges women face in the U.S. and their concerns that these challenges would increase during Trump’s time in office.last_img read more

President Cervelli implements 10-minute office hours

first_imgSaint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli, known for her annual residence hall sleepovers and appearances at the midnight breakfasts during final exams, announced in an email Aug. 30 she will be further opening her door to students by implementing scheduled office hours throughout the fall semester. These ten-minute, one-on-one meetings with Cervelli will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. An email sent to College community detailed the office hours which the administration hopes that this opportunity will encourage students to speak directly with President Cervelli about issues and concerns.President Cervelli said she decided to host office hours in order to foster dialogue and strengthen relationships with the student body.“We take seriously the idea that this campus community is a family and, in the busy rush of administrative responsibilities and academic schedules, I want to ensure that we make time for that essential part of what makes a family: open communications that lead to trust and understanding,” Cervelli said in an email.The goal of these ten-minute meetings is to increase accessibility to the administration while addressing the issues and concerns of students, Cervelli said.“I like to hear directly from students,” she said. “It’s why I often go to the dining hall at lunch and drop into Angela [Athletic & Wellness Complex] on the weekends. It’s important to stay in touch with what’s on students’ minds. Establishing a regular opportunity to have those conversations will be beneficial in strengthening the lines of communication and will deepen my understandings of the issues that most concern them. Students are at the center of all that we do, and listening to them one-on-one tells me what additional support they need, who they are and what sparks their curiosity.”Sophomore Grace Maher said she heard about the office hours through the campus-wide email, and will be attending an office hour session with other students from the Saint Mary’s gender and women’s studies department.“A small group of gender and women’s studies students have noticed that Saint Mary’s doesn’t have any statement of any kind in their admissions policy regarding transgender students, and while we understand that it’s a controversial issue, especially considering we’re a Catholic college, there are other women’s colleges who at least state a support statement regarding diversity, social justice or supporting students of various backgrounds applying to the colleges,” Maher said.Maher said she feels it is important to talk about these controversial topics in a personal setting to guarantee that the subject is being heard. The conversation, she said, will be extraordinarily helpful in creating further dialogue. “[The office hours are] a good opportunity to encourage one-on-one student-to-president conversation, especially if it’s an issue you feel needs direct attention from the president, rather than going through the various levels of administration,” Maher said. “The ten minutes can allow for a base level, a foundation to be set without needing to feel that we need to come fully prepared with a solution to whatever we’re bringing to President Cervelli.”Maher said she hopes her meeting with President Cervelli will lead to lasting changes on campus. “I hope that out of these conversations, we can start to enact some small changes that students feel personally affect them and affect other people that they know, and that they can really bring some big changes to the college,” Maher said.Senior Regan Hattersley said she received the email containing details on President Cervelli’s office hours in the middle of her class. “I was so excited, I immediately pulled up my calendar and was reading the [office hour] times,” Hattersley said. “That night I sent an email to her office requesting the first slot.”Having signed up for a time during one of her classes, Hattersley said she was intent on meeting with President Cervelli, and arranged with her professor to leave early so she could attend. “I’m personally interested in speaking with President Cervelli about my personal experiences being a student at Saint Mary’s that does not come from a lot of privilege,” Hattersley said. President Cervelli’s “friendly, personable” reputation shows that she is willing to listen to the stories of students, Hattersley said, especially those with stories like hers, something she felt was lacking in other presidents and administration. “I am a first-generation college student, and I have had several small interactions on this campus throughout my three years here … that I think she might be shocked to hear have happened to me,” Hattersley said. ”Like things that faculty and staff have said to me that I feel shouldn’t be the default way to interact with students. I don’t think there’s a lot of understanding on this campus beyond ‘college students are poor.’”Hattersley said she hopes her story as a first-generation college student helps President Cervelli learn more about the experiences of Saint Mary’s students with various backgrounds, and enact progress towards inclusivity and diversity.“I’m not interested in going to her with an agenda — I’m interested in going to her with my story,” Hattersley said. “It seems to me that my experience is not the norm, and I am aware of that. But I also know that I cannot be the only student that has these additional difficulties and challenges placed before them. I know that other students must have similar situations.”Hattersley said she wants President Cervelli to be aware of the things happening on campus even if her meeting does not result in instant change and hopes that students are better accommodated on an individual level. She is especially interested in sharing stories that illustrate several instances of Saint Mary’s staff and students misunderstanding her financial situation, she said.“‘Can’t you just ask your parents to cover it? Can’t you pay them back? Can’t you get a loan or something?’ For someone like me coming from a first generation family, I do appreciate all that my parents do for me, but they don’t have that to give,” Hattersley said. “It can be incredibly demoralizing. When that rhetoric is consistently used … it makes you feel like you’re never doing enough, or that you’re somehow wrong for not having.”Her meeting with President Cervelli will give the president a better understanding of the struggles faced by some Saint Mary’s students, Hattersley said, and hopefully improve the lives of future generations of Belles.“How can [Saint Mary’s] help students like me?” Hattersley said. “How can they prepare students like me? When it comes down to the individual student, what is being done? My story might inform [President Cervelli] in those respects.”Tags: Cervelli meeting, Jan Cervelli, Office Hours, President Cervellilast_img read more

In 2020, it is planned to reduce VAT in the hospitality industry and introduce Cro cards

first_imgYesterday, the agenda of the session of the Parliament also included package of tourism laws which make up the Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism, the Law on Membership Fees in Tourist Boards and the Law on Tourist Tax.As part of the presentation of the package of tourism laws and the debate in Parliament, Minister Cappelli said that in 2020 they plan to introduce a Cro card and reduce VAT in the hospitality industry. However, it is not yet known how much the reduction of VAT in catering will be and whether it will return to the level it was before the increase.The question is whether it is necessary to wait until 2020 for the introduction of these changes if there is a consensus of all, and all the analyzes say that it is necessary to introduce it as soon as possible in order for our tourism to be competitive.Those who are fast, creative, innovative and those who want market development grow and develop. As we think, others grow and move much faster than we do and thus raise the bar of competitiveness more and more. The market does not wait or ask, and those engaged in market development are evolving. Changes are becoming more frequent and faster, and those who wait and think for a long time are simply losing pace with the competition and jazz is getting bigger. The tourism industry is growing tremendously fast, as are global business and trends in general. That is why we need to make business decisions as soon as possible if we want to be competitive.It should certainly be taken into account that 2020 is an election year, but again, the question is whether the tourism sector, especially continental tourism and catering have time to wait until 2020 and how much development will slow down until the introduction of lower VAT in catering as well as the development of continental tourism. We need to be faster, smarter and more proactive.Cro cards as a great benefit for continental tourismthe introduction of Cro cards continental tourism has been waiting for years and which will certainly help continental tourism a lot. Although also, no details about the implementation are known yet.Two years ago, Horwath HTL held a presentation “Analysis of the justification for the introduction of the Croatian tourist voucher” in which it was pointed out that applying a maximum of 10 thousand kuna would theoretically have a potential of about 1,5 million employees, but it is possible count on its usability at about 15 to 30% or from about 35 to 4 billion kuna realization.It is assumed that the direct financial effects through the increase in consumption would be the realization of total revenues of 2,7 to 5,4 billion kuna, 10 to 21 thousand new employees directly and indirectly, 1 to 2 billion kuna of new value and 7,6 to 11 billion kuna of new investment.Na stolu su tada bila dva prijedloga, prvi da poslodavac djelatniku uplaćuje pet, a druga 10 tisuća kuna. Važno je za naglasiti kako bi 50 posto sredstava s kartice išlo na smještaj, 25 do 30 posto bi išlo na ugostiteljske usluge, hranu i piće, a ostatak novca može se iskoristiti na muzeje, wellness i slične sadržaje. Dakle, Cro kartica bi bila još jedna bankovna kartica na koju bi poslodavac uplatio novac. Naravno, oni poslodavci koji to budu htjeli, jer u suprotnom nema sankcija, a država bi poslodavcu taj isti novac vratila kroz porezne olakšice u iznosu od 25 pa sve do 100 posto uplaćenog iznosa.Reduction of VAT in cateringS trenutno važećim stopama PDV-a mogući su tek manji pozitivni učinci na fiskalne prihode, dok se dugoročno može očekivati manji broj sektorskih investicija, smanjenje broja novozaposlenih, manja bruto dodana vrijednost i manje kvalitetnih smještajnih jedinica – bio je zaključak analize utjecaja stope PDV-a na konkurentnost organiziranog smještaja i ugostiteljstva u Hrvatskoj koja je predstavljena početkom ove godine, a koju je izradila tvrtka HD Consulting u suradnji s HGK.Analiza utjecaja stope PDV-a na konkurentnost djelatnosti smještaja i ugostiteljstva Hrvatske, uključuje procjenu izravnih ekonomskih i fiskalnih učinaka različitih stopa PDV-a na kumulativno razdoblje od pet godina, uz usporedbu stope u Hrvatskoj s konkurentskim zemljama Mediterana te ostatkom Europske unije. Prema rezultatima studije i procjenama fiskalnog učinka postojeće stope, država će već od 2019. prema novim stopama prihodovati manje nego prema onima iz 2016. godine. Stopa PDV-a od 10% daje veće fiskalne učinke u odnosu na povećanu stopu već od 2025. godine zbog razlike u namjeri investiranja i priljeva novog smještaja. Ekonomski učinci postojeće stope do 2021. godine u usporedbi sa stopom od 10% znače 41% manje sektorskih investicija te gubitak više od 2,5 milijardi eura potencijalnih investicija, 71% manje novozaposlenih, 13% manje dodane vrijednosti i preko 11.000 visoko kvalitetnih smještajnih jedinica manje.In order to ensure a further intensive development cycle in tourism and encourage the development of related activities, it is proposed to equalize the VAT rate on organized accommodation and catering at 13% from 1 January 2019 and reduce the rate to 10% in the next three to four years.More about the introduction of Cro cards and a study of the VAT rate in tourism attached.INCREASED NEWS:CRO CARDS A ONE-TIME MEASURE OR SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF CONTINENTAL TOURISM?STUDY OF VAT RATE IN TOURISM FORECASTS 41% LESS INVESTMENT AND 71% LESS NEW EMPLOYEES BY 2021last_img read more

Blazers find some pride in their D

first_imgMinnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (42) looks to shoot against Portland Trail Blazers’ J.J. Hickson, back, and LaMarcus Aldridge, left, during the first half Friday. PORTLAND — It started at shootaround.In the morning hours before the Trail Blazers would walk onto the Rose Garden court, players gathered at the practice facility and stood ashamed.The team defense wasn’t very good. In fact — judging by some defensive statistics — the Blazer defense was worst in the league.Coach Terry Stotts called them out. He showed the numbers, and though players confessed to feeling humiliated in the morning, by Friday evening, they had grown inspired.The Blazers shut down the Minnesota Timberwolves, 103-95, before turning the lights off in the locker room for a while.After a rather sobering loss in Phoenix on Wednesday, when the team allowed the Suns to shoot with near 60-percent accuracy — continuing a trend that has plummeted the Blazers’ defensive field-goal percentage to last in the NBA — the pride had returned.“We got embarrassed, really,” said Wesley Matthews who scored a season-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting (5-6 on 3-pointers). “We’ve been embarrassed.”“Teams shooting 50 percent on us. The thumping that we took in Phoenix … and coach brought it to our attention at shootaround today where we stand in the NBA as far as defensive field-goal percentage and shots at the rim — and it was ugly.”If the coach’s call out wasn’t enough, the Blazers needed one more punch in the gut by nightfall. In the first quarter, the Wolves scored 33 points with center Nikola Pekovic dictating the paint for 10 points. Another “ugly” defensive performance seemed likely but the Blazers turned the effort around and held the Wolves to just 41 percent the rest of the way.last_img read more