As the leaves begin to change and our community becomes fully adjusted to being back on campus, our team is focused on student safety and well-being, and we hope this letter informs you of our holistic approach to keeping our community safe.
Our team continues to be focused on student safety, both on and off campus. We’ve held a series of productive meetings with local law enforcement — including Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) and the St. Joseph’s County Police Department — with the aim of better understanding how we can ensure our students are safe. This conversation is essential to maintaining good community-school relations and ensuring our students have the most up-to-date information. To that end, Oct. 9 marked our inaugural Campus Safety Summit, where student leaders, members of the executive vice president’s leadership team and other members of our campus community raised questions and concerns with local law enforcement. In addition to the Campus Safety Summit, our team has been working with NDSP, the executive vice president’s leadership team and the Office of Campus Safety to evaluate and expand our blue-light network, ensuring that all areas of our campus remain safe.
Of all issues pertaining to safety that impact our community, none are as severe and concerning to our community as sexual assault and violence prevention. As representatives of the student body, we want you to know that we stand with survivors of sexual violence and are constantly working to better our campus climate. Because sexual assault and violence prevention is of the utmost importance to us and our team, we required our entire executive cabinet and student senate to complete GreeNDot Bystander Intervention training with the Gender Relations Center (GRC). We must lead by example and our student leaders must be actively intervening in dangerous situations. Our Department of Athletics — led by Katherine Wallace — and our Department of Gender Relations — led by Elizabeth Boyle — are working with the university athletics department to make GreeNDot training mandatory for our student athletes as well.
Furthermore, we have been monitoring the implementation process of Callisto, a survivor- centric sexual assault reporting app that has been highly successful at peer institutions. We have consistently voiced our support for this program to administrators and hope that the technological capabilities and legalities of the application are of high enough standards for our campus. Our Department of Gender Relations has also worked with the GRC to provide survivor support groups on campus. One is too many, and we must do everything we can to improve our campus climate.
The U.S. Department of Education is releasing changes and new guidance on Title IX for colleges and universities, and we are evaluating the changes and working to hold ourselves to a higher standard at Notre Dame. Our partnership with university administrators and departments has proven to be extremely positive in this regard and we are in constant communication regarding Notre Dame’s Title IX policy.
Across the board, we are committed to our student body’s safety and well- being. Our team has taken a holistic approach to improving our campus climate and we are proud to collaborate with multiple partners in the administration and community at large on these initiatives.
The most important thing you can do to remain safe is to follow our social media for up-to-date information, and most importantly: If you see something, say something.
With Love that is Tender, Strong, and True,
Gates & Corey