Signatures support PSA petition

first_imgMembers of Notre Dame’s Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) and other student groups gathered Thursday at the kickoff event for the PSA-sponsored petition to add sexual orientation to the University’s nondiscrimination clause, but this year’s petition includes another goal for the group, senior and PSA treasurer Mary Dewey said. “The petition to include sexual orientation in the nondiscrimination clause has been circulated nine times in total, but this year we added a statement about the recognition of AllianceND as an official club on campus,” Dewey said. AllianceND, the proposed campus gay-straight group, has applied for official club status 14 times since the 1990s but has been rejected by University administrators each time, senior and acting vice president of PSA Julia Duranti said. Past petitions have garnered over 2,700 student, faculty and staff signatures, Dewey said. PSA decided to include support for AllianceND in this year’s petition to make a more focused statement about the current environment on campus regarding sexual orientation. “We realized that there hasn’t been a positive response from the administration in the past, so we were trying to think of new approaches,” Dewey said. “It’s a demonstration of support from a majority of the student body and faculty, but we’re mostly pushing for AllianceND to get official club status.” Dewey said the large number of signatures in support of adding sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination clause demonstrates the need and desire of both students and faculty to have an informal outlet for discussion between gay and straight members of the Notre Dame community, ideally in the form of AllianceND. “There’s a general level of discomfort for straight students in learning and talking about [sexual orientation],” Dewey said. “A lot of people don’t know what they think about it, so we want a space where people can meet each other and talk in a comfortable environment.” Duranti said the University has countered the push to make AllianceND an official club by emphasizing the existence of the Core Council for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning students — a University committee made up of students and faculty. There are currently 12 council members. “The University’s biggest argument against the recognition of AllianceND is the Core Council, but it’s not really a space for gay and straight students to meet, talk about issues and form friendships,” Duranti said. “Core Council is directly controlled by the administration, so AllianceND would be an informal place for students to come together and break the ice about these issues.” Without official club status, AllianceND doesn’t have access to University funding, can’t meet officially in public places on campus and can’t set up a table at Activities Night, Duranti said. PSA also hopes to collect at least 3,000 signatures for the official presentation of the petition to the University administration at the end of March, junior and PSA co-president Jackie Emmanuel said. “While our most immediate goals for this campaign are changing, the nondiscrimination clause and getting recognition for AllianceND, the overall movement aims to create a more tolerant, accepting environment on campus for [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] students,” Duranti said. Emmanuel emphasized the importance of the sexual orientation clause in creating a more comfortable environment for both students and faculty members. “Currently, much of campus doesn’t realize the trials gay faculty and students go through every day,” Emmanuel said. “Untenured faculty members may hide their sexual orientations for fear of being rejected from campus or losing their jobs with no explanation, and closeted students may have to hide who they are from their friends for fear of being cast out of their friend groups.” Boston College, Fordham University, Georgetown University and Saint Mary’s College, all Catholic universities, include sexual orientation in their respective nondiscrimination clauses. Duranti said the proposal to change the University’s nondiscrimination clause should not be construed as an attempt to challenge Church teachings. “There’s a misperception that we’re challenging Church doctrine, but it’s more of a question as to how strong the protections are for students who deal with harassment combined with an overall culture that isn’t the most accepting,” Duranti said. “We’re trying to hold Notre Dame to its Catholic ideals of nondiscrimination and universal love for all people, so Notre Dame has a long way to go to live up to that.” Dewey said the changes proposed by the petition may seem small but could prompt significant changes in the future. “It’s really not that controversial, and it’s a pretty small change, but it could go a long way in making a difference in campus culture,” Dewey said. “All of us love being at Notre Dame, so for most people the absence of AllianceND doesn’t matter much, but it’s important for LGBT students.” Emmanuel said several other student clubs are in favor of the petition, including MEChA, College Democrats and Feminist Voice, all of which have been helping to pass out petitions and to spread the word in general.last_img read more

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Senior designs major to fit interests

first_img According to The College of Arts and Letters’ webpage, students interested in designing their own majors must write a proposal for their projected course of study and have it signed by three faculty sponsors from at least two separate departments. The Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee reviews the proposal, which then needs to be approved by the dean. During her sophomore year, Whitty spoke to Stuart Greene, associate professor of English and director of the Education, Schooling and Society minor, and began the process of designing her own major. Her desire to apply environmental science to the larger world — involving political science, economics and business in her studies —led her to unite the typically isolated disciplines into a unique course of study. “When I came to Notre Dame, I was already really interested in environmental issues and from freshman year, I got involved with environmental science,” Whitty said. “I knew I wanted to work in environmental policy or law, and ND has very strong environmental and political science programs, butthere’s no hybrid program that allows you to combine both.” “I had to look at similar programs at other schools and pull together a list of any classes that sounded both interesting and relevant to environmental policy and development,” Whitty said. “I met with professors and advisors to get their input and approval throughout the process.” Senior Anne Whitty is one student who took advantage of this option and designed her own program, called “Sustainable Policy and Development,” to complement her second major in Environmental Science.   Despite Notre Dame’s wide array of majors, some students struggle to find a course of study that perfectly matches their interests. For these students, the College of Arts and Letters offers the option of a self-designed major. Senior Anne Whitty is one student who took advantage of this option and designed her own program, called “Sustainable Policy and Development,” to complement her second major in Environmental Science.   “When I came to Notre Dame, I was already really interested in environmental issues and from freshman year, I got involved with environmental science,” Whitty said. “I knew I wanted to work in environmental policy or law, and ND has very strong environmental and political science programs, butthere’s no hybrid program that allows you to combine both.” During her sophomore year, Whitty spoke to Stuart Greene, associate professor of English and director of the Education, Schooling and Society minor, and began the process of designing her own major. Her desire to apply environmental science to the larger world — involving political science, economics and business in her studies —led her to unite the typically isolated disciplines into a unique course of study. “I had to look at similar programs at other schools and pull together a list of any classes that sounded both interesting and relevant to environmental policy and development,” Whitty said. “I met with professors and advisors to get their input and approval throughout the process.” According to The College of Arts and Letters’ webpage, students interested in designing their own majors must write a proposal for their projected course of study and have it signed by three faculty sponsors from at least two separate departments. The Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee reviews the proposal, which then needs to be approved by the dean. A capstone essay of between 30 and 50 pages in length must be completed during the student’s senior year. Students interested in designing their own major must comb through the course catalog to find relevant courses with a common theme, Whitty said. Whitty said the process has been stressful, but rewarding. “It took so much time, especially working on the proposal during the beginning of my sophomore year — I spent as much time working on it as I would put in for an entire course,” Whitty said. “But I think the biggest challenge was the self-discovery process — designing a curriculum really requires that you know what you want out of your education and take every possible opportunity to meet your academic goals.” Whitty was able to fit a study abroad experience in India into her plan, which she said played a major role in developing her long-term goals.     She said her senior thesis focuses on sustainable urban planning, and she intends to pursue a career in that field after graduation. “Notre Dame wants its students to graduate with a degree that will help them succeed in their chosen area,” Whitty said. “The faculty were so supportive in helping me to figure out the goals of my education and how to accomplish them … I’ve definitely come to really appreciate my education, and I don’t take it for granted.”,Despite Notre Dame’s wide array of majors, some students struggle to find a course of study that perfectly matches their interests. Whitty was able to fit a study abroad experience in India into her plan, which she said played a major role in developing her long-term goals.     She said her senior thesis focuses on sustainable urban planning, and she intends to pursue a career in that field after graduation.center_img A capstone essay of between 30 and 50 pages in length must be completed during the student’s senior year. Students interested in designing their own major must comb through the course catalog to find relevant courses with a common theme, Whitty said. Whitty said the process has been stressful, but rewarding. “It took so much time, especially working on the proposal during the beginning of my sophomore year — I spent as much time working on it as I would put in for an entire course,” Whitty said. “But I think the biggest challenge was the self-discovery process — designing a curriculum really requires that you know what you want out of your education and take every possible opportunity to meet your academic goals.” For these students, the College of Arts and Letters offers the option of a self-designed major. “Notre Dame wants its students to graduate with a degree that will help them succeed in their chosen area,” Whitty said. “The faculty were so supportive in helping me to figure out the goals of my education and how to accomplish them … I’ve definitely come to really appreciate my education, and I don’t take it for granted.”last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s Bronte performance

first_imgEmily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” graced the stage at O’Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary’s Monday night with a performance by the Aquila Theatre company. Six actors, united by Aquila’s mission to make classical works accessible to everyone through performance arts, brought the classic novel to life under the direction of Desiree Sanchez.“It was a marvelous performance,” director of special events Richard Baxter said. “Very well put together, very clear. You know what I loved most of all? No mics.”One of the production’s lead actors, Kali Hughes (Cathy Earnshaw), said although the show is demanding, it is gratifying to perform.“It’s a really tough show,” Hughes said. “It’s kind of shocked me. I’ve got to stay fit and healthy. You can’t have a day off, but it’s immensely enjoyable as well.”Dale Mathurin (Heathcliffe), who is just older than most members of the Saint Mary’s audience, said “Heights” has been on the road for three weeks and the central role can be taxing for such a fresh actor.“It’s a very hectic show,” Mathurin said. “I’m fresh out of drama school. This is my first time abroad. There are a lot of days in the van getting to different venues.”Mathurin said she and Hughes lived in London, England prior to touring “Heights.”“I worked for the company last year,” Hughes said. “I knew they were doing ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and I begged for the role. I love ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and I think every teenage girl holds this book close to their hearts.”Mathurin happened upon the role after a chance audition, he said.“I’m a baby, literary,” Mathurin said. “It’s funny. I’m in my third year of drama school, and as I’m ready to leave school, my agent posted this audition to me. I turned up, and I got a recall, went to the second audition. What kept me here was the book and the cast, the environment and the story.”Hughes said bringing Bronte’s world to life has been a challenge.“It has been a hard book to adapt,” Hughes said. “You’ll notice we have only really have done the first half of the book. Cathy dies in the first half of the book, and I think part of that has to do with having a young Heathcliff. It’s just a more truthful story.“As brilliant as the book is, it really does peak in the middle, it’s really exciting, this bit where we ended. A novel is different. On the stage you need to be gripped. Despite the absolute mess they’ve gotten themselves into. If we were to put the whole thing onstage, when [the characters] fail, we want to see more, do we care? It’s like a book with lots of little ends. It kind of leeches the drama.”Hughes said part of the challenge in adapting “Wuthering Heights,” is the complexity of Cathy’s character.“I actually find Cathy to be an energy vacuum,” Hughes said. “She walks into a room and sucks the energy out of everything, like a vortex. But she’s also very human, and she makes a mistake. I think she’s just this fantastically flawed individual. She’s trying to claw back her love for Heathcliff.”Mathurin said Heathcliff’s mysterious side makes the role appealing.“What draws me the most is his mystery,” he said. “I find him to be very enigmatic to play with in the scenes that he’s in,” Mathurin said. “The mystery of the character’s what drew me. I don’t think at this point in time I want to be anyone else but Heathcliff.”Tags: Aquila Theatre Company, Bronte, Wuthering Heightslast_img read more

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McCarthy, Dingler release progress report

first_imgWhen Emma McCarthy and Mary Joy Dingler took over as Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president, they made plans to be more visible to the student body.Dingler said she has achieved this by attending major campus events as well as holding regular office hours.“It’s important to me that [the student body] know[s] that I support the work they do and will try to be as present and active around campus as I can,” Dingler said. “I want students to take advantage of office hours and feel free to approach me, as well as any other member of SGA they need to communicate with.”According to Dingler, visibility and transparency go hand-in-hand. She said SGA recently published an end-of-semester progress report checklist.“Emma and I do so many things behind the scenes when working with the administration that isn’t always immediately visible to students,” she said. “It was important too that we made this progress report so students can see that even when we’re working with the administration behind the scenes and accomplishing tasks on various committees, we always have the students’ interests at heart and are advocating for them.”McCarthy said she serves as a student voice on various administrative committees, including the Student Life Committee for the Board of Trustees, the Academic Affairs Council and the President’s ad hoc group, which works on the shared roles and responsibilities for the College.Dingler serves on the Academic Administrative Structure Ad Hoc Working Group — which prepares for the College’s new Provost — and on the Search Committee for the Provost.“We are able to interact with President Cervelli at some of these meetings, as well as at other committees we sit on together,” McCarthy said. “[Cervelli] is very open and willing to work with SGA and become more involved with the student body. … She has shown such excitement and enthusiasm toward the student body, and I know that this is a huge testament to the kind of leader she is going to be for this campus community.”McCarthy said she has also met with students on a regular basis to hear their concerns and find areas where SGA can better student life on campus.“I continue to be humbled that the student body has selected me to be their advocate,” she said. “I hope that they know that if there is ever a problem or concern that they want to see addressed with the administration, that they can come to me and I will take care of it because I have their best interests at heart.”McCarthy said she has succeeded in having the Community Justice chairs host two monthly mingles, proposed as part of their platform in the spring, to build community and aid minority students who may feel marginalized. She said she also holds weekly leadership meetings with the Student Diversity Board, Residence Hall Association, Class Council and Student Activities Board to discuss campus climate.“This gives us the opportunities to work closely with other student leaders in order to respond to student needs as we see fit,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to see all that Student Diversity Board has been doing to create a more positive environment on campus.”In an effort to increase security on campus, McCarthy said she and Dingler have worked with Student Affairs to address all safety concerns. She said the Community Committee chairs hosted Safety Day, which included self-defense classes and a discussion on campus safety issues.Dingler also serves as the new Security Liaison, meaning she works directly with campus security to address issues and concerns as they arise.McCarthy and Dingler attend monthly Campus and Community Advisory Coalition meetings in South Bend, where they meet with the student body presidents of Notre Dame and Holy Cross as well as with members of the South Bend community.“This allows us to be able to know what is going [on] throughout the tri-campus area and in the South Bend community and voice any questions or concerns to that coalition that have been brought to us by the student body,” McCarthy said.McCarthy said they also meet with the student government representatives of Notre Dame and Holy Cross on a regular basis to discuss issues that directly affect the tri-campus community.“It is a chance for us to share ideas, brainstorm opportunities for future collaboration, talk about our respective campuses and how they interact and share our successes with one another,” McCarthy said. “We will continue to meet with them throughout next semester. We have a great group of people this year who are all exceedingly open to the idea of collaboration, and we continue to be thrilled with the support that we receive from these wonderful campus communities.”McCarthy added she has focused on revitalizing the Big Belle-Little Belle program, which started last year to help first-year students assimilate to college by being paired up with a junior or senior.“We have been thrilled by the mentorship that our junior students have offered to our first-year class and hope that the re-focus and re-structuring of the group will make it sustainable for many years to come,” she said.Dingler said SGA has made efforts to become more transparent to the student body.“We recognize that sometimes it is hard for students to see the amount that we do in terms of student representation on various committees and with the administration, but we are working to increase that awareness,” she said. “Our progress report was a great start to that, and I hope we can continue to inform the student body of SGA’s accomplishments even more as we move into next semester. We are open to student suggestions for what they would like to see in the coming semester and are always willing to work with students.”Tags: 2016 Student Government Insider, Emma McCarthy, Mary Joy Dingler, McCarthy-Dingler, Monthly Mingles, safety, saint mary’s, Student Life Committeelast_img read more

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Student Senate holds final meeting under Robinson administration

first_imgThe last Student Senate meeting of the current administration took place Wednesday, and saw the passing of two resolutions. One to amend sentence-level errors in the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body (SS1617-34) and the other to officially commend the Notre Dame fencing team in the wake of its 2017 NCAA Championship (SS1617-35). Resolution SS1617-36, “A resolution supporting the release of aggregate data regarding sexual assault reports”, after lengthy discussion, failed to pass. Another resolution, SS1617-37, “A resolution supporting the adoption and implementation of Callisto,” failed to receive the unanimous Senate vote required for it to be discussed and voted upon.Student body president, Corey Robinson, began by delivering his final State of the Student Union Address, expressing gratitude to all of Student Senate for their work this year.“I want to use this time to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you,” Robinson said. “This past year has been probably the greatest honor of my life, being able to serve the student body alongside each of you … It’s been awesome working with you guys, and I really think we did a great job, this year, improving the student experience. There’s a lot of work to be done, but when I look at this room, I see people who are going to continue, whether that be in student government, or in their dorms, or in their clubs, moving forward … That gives me so much hope, right now in this turbulent time in our country, because it rests with you all.”Senator Zachary Huber briefly described SS1617-34, and said the purpose of the proposed amendment was for ”fixing an error that we had before with how some of the stuff was ordered.” The resolution passed. Resolution SS1617-35, “A resolution commending the University of Notre Dame fencing program on its 2017 NCAA championship” was also described by Huber and passed unanimously without discussion.Incoming Judicial Council president Matthew Ross announced his endorsement of freshman Colin Brankin for the position of Student Union Parliamentarian. The Senate unanimously approved his position.Senator Jade Martinez introduced resolution SS1617-36, entitled “A resolution supporting the release of aggregate data regarding sexual assault reports.” The resolution’s written purpose was that, if passed, the Senate would “fully support the administration’s release of aggregate data once per semester of all sexual assault reports, starting Fall 2017.”Senator Isabel Rooper, a member of the Policy Committee, supported the resolution.“Without quantitative data on this issue we are unable to evaluate whether our current system is functioning appropriately,” Rooper said. “Similarly, it’s difficult to compare Notre Dame to other universities when we don’t have this actual data released, and finally, as a Catholic university, Notre Dame has to ask more of itself than other institutions.” During the question and discussion periods, several members of the Senate expressed concerns about the resolution, including Judicial Council President Caitlin Geary.“I would very strongly urge you to add a clause in this before we would pass this to define what sort of aggregate data we’re looking for,” Geary said.Chairman of Campus Affairs Tim O’Connell said he felt the wording of the resolution should be more specific.“I don’t think the resolution as it is is going to get what you’re looking for,” O’Connell said.Senator Rebecca Georgiadis requested that the vote be made by ballot. The motion passed, with all voting in favor except for Senator Martinez, who abstained.After more discussion, Senator Sebastian Lopez requested for discussion to cease and to move to a vote, which unanimously passed. The final vote, made by ballot, was insufficient to pass the resolution. Overall, 19 votes in favor were received, nine in opposition and six abstentions.Senator Martinez introduced another resolution, SS1617-37, “A resolution supporting the adoption and implementation of Callisto.” The resolution called for Callisto to be implemented as a sexual assault reporting software no later than Fall 2017. Because the resolution had not been scheduled beforehand, the Senate voted on whether or not to hear it. The vote was not unanimous, so the resolution was not heard.Tags: ND student senatelast_img read more

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University to award seven honorary degrees at Commencement

first_imgEditor’s Note: A version of this story was published March 31.Notre Dame will award seven honorary degrees at Commencement ceremony May 21, including one to Vice President Mike Pence, the University announced in a press release March 30.Pence, this year’s commencement speaker, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, along with Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Rev. Martin Junge and Philip J. Purcell III, according to the press release.Bolden, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, served 14 of his 34 years in the military as a NASA astronaut, and became the agency’s twelfth administrator in 2009. According to the press release, he has served on four space shuttle missions, twice as commander and twice as pilot, and flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.Pope Francis appointed Farrell, “the highest-ranking American serving in the Vatican,” a Cardinal in 2016 to lead the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, the press release said. His honorary degree from Notre Dame will be his fourth, as he also holds degrees from the University of Salamanca in Spain, Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.Junge, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, is the first Latin American general secretary — the chief ecumenical officer — of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a position he was elected to in 2010. Junge and the LWF commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation along with Pope Francis and the Vatican by co-authoring a report, “From Conflict to Communion,” and co-hosting the commemoration in Lund, Sweden, in October.Purcell, for whom the Purcell Pavilion in the Joyce Center is named, is a 1964 graduate of the University and 25-year member of the board of trustees at Notre Dame. He is the founder and president of Continental Investors, and has previously been the chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, director of American Airlines and Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, chairman of the Financial Services Forum, a director of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the advisory council for Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.Alice Gast, the president of Imperial College London, will receive an honorary doctor of engineering degree from the University, according to the press release. A chemical engineer, Gast has previously served as vice president for research and associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the thirteenth president of Lehigh University.Martha Lampkin Welborne, the senior vice president for corporate real estate and global facilities with The Walt Disney Company, will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from the University, according to the press release. After graduating with a degree in architecture from Notre Dame in 1975, Welborne earned two master’s degrees in architecture and city planning at MIT, and also served as the chief planning officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.Tags: 2017 commencement, doctor of engineering, doctor of fine arts, doctor of laws, Honorary degreeslast_img read more

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Social activist Dolores Huerta to speak at lecture series

first_imgDolores Huerta, social activist and co-founder of United Farm Workers who worked alongside Cesar Chavez, will speak at McKenna Hall on Tuesday, according to a University press release.Her lecture is a part of the Institute for Latino Studies’ Transformative Latino Leadership Series. Huertes is known for her social advocacy, specifically for the rights for farm workers, women’s rights and the poor, and is known for coining the rallying phrase “Si, se puede.” She is famous for leading the boycott against California grapes, which resulted in a victory for the farm workers and was the first national boycott of its kind. This boycott led to the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, when farm worker rights fused together with student and community activism.In 1998, Huerta received the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Bill Clinton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 from President Barack Obama.This same lecture series has hosted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. According to their website, the Institute for Latino Studies aims to prepare transformative leaders in various academic and social spheres among Latinos and all members of society. This particular lectures series “links Notre Dame with the ‘who’s-who’ of Latino leaders in the United States.”Huerta’s speech will include a conversation moderated by Luis Fraga, director of the Institute for Latino Studies. The lecture is free and open to the public.last_img read more

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Alleged rape from 2012 reported to NDSP

first_imgA rape was reported to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) on Dec. 18, according to Thursday’s NDSP crime log.The alleged rape occurred Feb. 17, 2012, in an unspecified east side female dorm, according to the report.Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from NDSP and the Title IX office.Tags: Campus Safety, Notre Dame Security Police, rape, sexual assault, Title IXlast_img

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University responds to student requests to improve race relations

first_imgIn response to a call to action from a coalition of Black clubs at Notre Dame and a statement from student government, vice president of student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said in an email Monday she will enact some of the requests from students immediately.As students asked to improve and expand upon images that show the University’s commitment to combating racism, Hoffmann Harding said a blank wall in LaFortune Student Center will “await your creativity and suggestions upon your return” and be designated for students when the fall semester begins.In addition, throughout the summer the student affairs departments will sponsor virtual discussions surrounding racial injustice. Hoffmann Harding said they also plan on modifying the mental health resource list to better support black students.“We will also continue every effort to augment the diversity of staff available to students not only through the University Counseling Center, but throughout the Division of Student Affairs,” she said.Hoffmann Harding said they will also work with students to alter the content of the Moreau First Year Experience, as well as the way instructors prepare for the course. Questions assessing mental health will also be added to the Inclusive Campus Survey.Hoffmann Harding urged all students, particularly those in a privileged position, to take action.“To all of us who identify as white, please join this effort as an ally so every student feels they belong on our campus,” she said.Tags: Erin Hoffmann Harding, inclusive campus survey, LaFortune Student Center, University Counseling Centerlast_img read more

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Chautauqua County Officials To Hold Reopening Press Conference

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Not wearing a mask is the same as drinking and driving, putting innocent people at risk. We would like to KEEP businesses open and the death count low. Please respect others and pull up the mask for the short time you’ll be in the store. App users, tap here to watch press conference video.MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel is reminding citizens that Phase One of Western New York’s Gradual reopening is only limited to specific businesses, and those businesses still must adhere to social distancing and other health guidelines issued by New York State.Wendel says there is more than one phase, specifically stating that hair and beauty shops will remain closed during Phase One of the reopening. In addition, Wendel is urging people to remain in compliance with the health guidelines.“We do not want to revert back to a PAUSE,” Wendel said during a press conference Tuesday morning. “We all need to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.” Wendel concedes there will be an increase in cases during the reopening, which makes the adherence to health guidelines all the more important.“Please use common sense,” Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler added. “The virus hasn’t gone anywhere.” She says the County has done a “tremendous job” during its effort to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus.Schuyler also urges citizens not to judge those who may not be wearing a mask as they could have a pre-existing health condition. New York State’s order mandating people wear a mask in public when social distancing isn’t possible gives an exemption to those who can’t medically tolerate a mask.Schuyler says a surge in cases over this past weekend is due to people gathering “prematurely.” Schuyler and Doctor Robert Burke are both encouraging citizens to “be smart” about how they act during the reopening.Wendel acknowledges that wearing masks can be frustrating, but he says the mask wearing has played a critical role in preventing a “backslide.”The County Executive says he’s been in contact with business owners, like Penny Echard of Penny’s Less Family Salon in Falconer, to discuss what the future may hold or their businesses.Wendel clarified that the State of Emergency that he has issued and extended will not affect the reopening phases. He says that, to his knowledge, Phase Two would begin in two weeks provided Western New York continues to meet the guidelines from the Governor’s office.Wendel says he believes Department of Motor Vehicles would open during Phase Two, but he’ll give the public an official answer when he is apprised on the matter.State Senator George Borrello also reminds people to use “common sense” and adhere to social distancing. In addition, he asks people to be “respectful” towards each other.last_img read more

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