The Gender Gap in South Bend High School Basketball Programs? Scheduling

By Cassidy McDonald and Grace Watkins • May 15th, 2017

Morgan Frasier photo

Clay High School sophomore forward Morgan Frasier said her favorite aspect of basketball is how it allows for constant improvement. (Photo/Cassidy McDonald)

In 2009, an Indiana girls basketball coach sued over Franklin County High School’s scheduling discrepancy: At the time, 95 percent of Franklin County boys basketball games took place in “prime time” (Friday and Saturday nights and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), compared with just 53 percent of girls games.

The coach, Amber Parker, won her lawsuit against the Indiana High School Athletic Association in 2012. The courts ruled that this scheduling discrepancy was a violation of Title IX. But analysis of recent scheduling data show that little has changed since that ruling took place a half decade ago.

Title IX is a statute originally sponsored by then-U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Indiana) and signed by President Richard Nixon in 1972. It requires that no person experience exclusion “from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” on the basis of their sex. For high school sports, this means that boys teams should not receive more money or resources than girls teams.


bluestopwatchiconTimeline: A brief history of Title IX and high school sports


High schools have been slow to comply with Title IX. Kirby Whitacre, director of athletics for the South Bend Community School Corporation, said that at the time of the Parker case, “there was huge inequity in basketball scheduling.”

The corporation voted in the 2014-15 school year to adopt an equitable scheduling standard by 2016 in response to the Parker ruling. Since then, Whitacre said, athletic directors have become more educated about Title IX and schools have made plans to hire more female athletic directors. Their very presence reminds decision-makers about the importance of women’s athletics, Whitacre said.

How much has basketball scheduling in local South Bend high schools actually changed since the Parker case eight years ago?

A data analysis of five local high schools’ basketball programs reveals that eight out of 10 varsity and JV teams in the area still schedule boys’ games more often during prime-time spots — Fridays and Saturdays — compared to weeknight matchups. Two teams had evenly scheduled prime-time spots.

The analysis was based on the online schedule for each school, which represents the way games were initially planned — though games may have later been rescheduled due to weather or emergency, according to the South Bend School Corporation.

Each of the five schools, on average, gave boys more prime-time spots than girls. The average amount of scheduling disparity between girls and boys teams was 12.4 percent across the five schools. For comparison, the average bias present in Franklin County high schools at the time of the 2012 Parker case was 42 percent.

When presented with the findings of the data analysis, Whitacre said he was surprised. He said he would have guessed there was less than a 10 percent disparity in scheduling between boys and girls teams.

Whitacre noted that boys games bring in more revenue, and that scheduling decisions in the past were “absolutely, absolutely, 100 percent driven by money.” He attributed the current disparity in South Bend schools, however, to inattention.

“In the old days it was deliberate,” he said. Today, “it’s not a deliberate attempt to ignore the law, but it’s sloppy record keeping … It’s lack of focus,” he said. Whitacre plans to bring the issue up with the athletic directors in the fall.


The school with the greatest disparity in varsity teams’ primetime game scheduling is Clay High School with a 24.2 percent difference between the girls and boys teams. The school with the least disparity out of the five varsity teams is Penn High School, where the teams were scheduled an equal amount of primetime games.

The school with the greatest JV disparity is Adams High School with a 25 percent difference. Riley High School had the least amount of scheduling disparity with equally scheduled JV primetime games. JV teams tend to have slightly greater disparity (2.92 percent on average) than varsity teams.

Kirby Whitacre suspects that the South Bend area is still more Title IX compliant relative to the rest of Indiana. “Rural schools are particularly bad because they are not challenged,” he said.

Sandra Walter, assistant commissioner for the Indiana High School Athletic Association, disputed Whitacre’s claim. “Rarely do we hear an issue with Title IX with respect to basketball scheduling,” she said. “There is no data to suggest that there is a difference between rural and city areas.”

The oral arguments heard in the 2012 Parker case explain why compliance is worth ensuring in the first place. The National Women’s Law Center, representing the female plaintiffs in the case, presented evidence that when girls games are pushed into the school week, female students face a greater academic burden — and battle feelings of inferiority when they can’t draw the large crowds the boys often do.

Avital Nathman, a freelance journalist who writes about Title IX and gender equality, said, “If boys at these schools — starting in junior high — get the sense that they are scheduled more weekend games than the girls teams, they’ll internalize that and the underpinned meaning associated with it: Boys teams are more important. Boys sports are more popular.”

Morgan Frasier, a sophomore guard on the varsity girls team at Clay High School, said she doesn’t notice a scheduling bias toward the boys team, but does notice that boys games are better attended.

“For girls,” she said, “it’s pretty much just parents.”

Mark Westendorp photo

Mark Westendorp, girls varsity head coach at Clay High School, said he hasn’t noticed a scheduling discrepancy. (Photo/Cassidy McDonald)

Frasier’s coach, Clay High School Girls Varsity Head Coach Mark Westendorp, also said he hasn’t been “super aware” of discrepancies in scheduling.

When it comes to game schedules, Westendorp prefers Friday nights. Fridays allow his team to eat well during the school day and arrive to the game energized, but the weekend also brings larger crowds.

“Friday is deemed as the prime time. That’s what you want in a high school sport,” he said.

At Clay, the girls team played Friday games 13 percent less often than the boys team. Only four of the team’s 23 games were scheduled on a Friday compared to nine of the 30 boys games.

Game schedules are crafted by high school athletic directors. Washington High School Athletic Director Garland Hudson said about 30 percent of the games are pre-set by the conference, but the rest are coordinated between schools. Athletic directors will, for instance, look up available games on a certain date and schedule them through a software called ArbiterSports.

Hudson noted that his typical scheduling strategy involves placing girls games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the boys are scheduled on Wednesdays and Fridays. While Washington splits Saturdays evenly between the genders, the boys were initially scheduled on Fridays about 11 percent more often than the girls.

This year, he said, games were rescheduled so that boys played seven Friday games and girls played six.

“You don’t want to always schedule boys on Friday night,” he said. “You look for ways to make sure you even the playing field.”

Jill Bodinger, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Notre Dame, remembers the effects of an uneven playing field. She witnessed serious scheduling inequities as a high school basketball player in the graduating class of 1987 at Valparaiso High School. This was before the 2012 Parker case ruled that Title IX applied to game scheduling.

“[I did] homework on a bus in the dark at 10 p.m. because we only played on weeknights,” she said.

Bodinger’s take on the current state of gender equity in high school sports?

“Still a ways to go,” she said.

She said she believes that the low-level scheduling bias in South Bend high schools does have an effect. She said inequitable scheduling — of any amount — not only equates to a lack of fans and an academic burden, but also tells female students that they are second-class citizens.

Gender equity in sports is especially crucial at the high school level. Already by the age of 14, girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports as boys. The top reasons why girls stop playing? A lack of access to facilities and a stigma associated with being athletic.

At 15th worst, Indiana ranks near the bottom of the country in terms of gender-equitable sports participation — that is, the gap between what percentage of girls and boys play sports in high school.

Frasier has been playing basketball since the fourth grade. Most of the time, she is too wrapped up in the game to pay attention to the lack of cheering fans. “When I play, I don’t really focus on the stands,” she said.

She only focuses on the game — a game that she likes for the way it promotes constant progress and constant improvement.

“If you put in a lot of work,” she said, “it’s easy to see how that work pays off.”


bluebookicon Read more: Indiana ranks low in high school sports gender equity


Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story of Teen Suicide in Indiana

By Lauren Fox and Claire Radler • May 15th, 2017

“I remember praying to die. At the grotto, I remember praying to die.” –  Morgan Monte, 34, a peer support specialist for a community of mental health.

In her late teenage years and during her sophomore and junior years at Notre Dame, Morgan Monte struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, the same issues that she helps others combat today through her work.

“It was in my mind all the time, like thoughts of being worthless. Everything I did, my mind would find a way to tell me that I screwed up somehow,” Monte said.

“Part of how the depression manifested was doing risky things like riding my bike along the side of the road in the dark, like a passive death wish.”

Monte’s depression materialized in her high school years at Frankenmuth High School in the form of eating disorders. What started with eating too little and exercising too much reversed into eating too much. This then progressed to acts of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Monte could not handle her emotions, she said, and sought to shut them down.

The onset of Monte’s depression mirrors those of other teens — and her story is a common one.

Of all 50 states, Indiana ranks in the middle, No. 25, for most suicides in 2016:

But in terms of teen suicide rates, Indiana ranks much higher in comparison to other states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the third leading cause of death among people aged 10-14 and the second leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 in 2015.

This issue especially hit close to home in Indiana. According to the 2015 Indiana Youth Institute Kids Count Data Book, the state was third out of 37 ranked states for the percentage of teens who considered attempting suicide. Indiana was second out of 34 ranked states for teens who say they made a suicide plan.

Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Tami Silverman said in a February 2017 video interview: “Unfortunately, Indiana is higher than the nation in all four categories… We break it down into four different categories: Those students who have seriously considered attempting suicide, those who have made a plan to attempt suicide, those who have actually attempted suicide, and those who have attempted and needed medical attention.”

Additionally, the percentage of Indiana female teens nearly doubles the percent of male teens in these four categories:

The Indiana Youth Institute also cites some key facts about the state’s high school students:

  • One in five thought about suicide.
  • One in five made a suicide plan.
  • One out of 10 attempted suicide.
  • One out of 25 attempted suicide and needed medical attention.

In South Bend, suicide prevention programming exists and is continuously developing.

The Oaklawn Psychiatric Center partners with South Bend Community Schools to administer STAND (Students Taking a New Direction) assistance programming that focuses on the prevention of drug and alcohol use. Additionally, the community department of Memorial Hospital of South Bend received a grant in 2017 from the Norma Frank Estate that will go to provide QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) training. This training is designed to teach anybody how to respond to people who may be contemplating suicide. Rebecca Zakowski, a pediatric health project specialist from Memorial Hospital, stated in an interview:

“It [QPR] encourages people not to be afraid to ask people about suicide.”

According to Zakowski, Memorial Hospital is partnering with South Bend Community Schools and will begin providing QPR training to teachers and licensed school staff throughout the 2017-2018 school year.

Riley High School takes additional steps to address teen suicide. Suicide prevention programming is provided yearly in their health classes. They teach the signs of suicide as well as what to do if a friend or family member is suicidal.

According to Mary Dunn, a social worker from the high school, “These efforts have paid off many times over.  Several suicidal students were brought to me by their peers.  We take suicide very seriously at Riley and pray that our students trust us enough to let us help them through difficult times.”

At the University of Notre Dame, steps are being taken to promote suicide prevention.

Phoebe Natale photo

Phoebe Natale tells event participants about teen suicide and explains the goal of Howard’s Walk for More Tomorrows event. (Photo by Lauren Fox)

Howard Hall, a women’s dormitory, hosted an event called “Walk for More Tomorrows” on the South Quad of Notre Dame’s campus on March 30. The goal of the event was to raise awareness, support and prevention regarding teen suicide. Participants in the event were asked to donate $2 to the Suicide Prevention Center of South Bend and then walk around a track twice. As participants walked around the track, they read yard signs that included other statistics regarding suicide.

Phoebe Natale, Notre Dame junior and Vice President of Howard Hall, said, “When I first became Vice President of Howard, I knew that I wanted to make a focus of mental health during my time in office. Suicide has been in my life since the age of 12 up until as recent as this past Monday. Howard exec and I recognized that mental health and suicide are extremely prevalent on our campus, though sometimes the awareness isn’t there. Maybe it’s because people don’t want to talk about it for fear of stigma; maybe they simply don’t know how.”

The event prompted discussion on campus.

“After people took the time to listen to what I had to say and what other girls had to say, gather materials and take their walk around the track,” Natale said. “A lot of them came out a little bit less excited than when they first entered. Which, to me, as morbid as it sounds, tells me that it had an impact. Hopefully they’ll be thinking of this going forward and will be able to step in if they see that something is up with a friend or a family member.”

Another piece of positive feedback came from Monte, who posted in the Facebook event page:

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 8.10.02 PM

The way teens talk about suicide has an impact.

“How do we talk about it? I think generally in very hushed tones,” said Mary Mecca, a Notre Dame senior and campus advocate for suicide prevention, in an interview.\

Teens sometimes attempt to understand suicide through logical reasoning. “They’re looking for answers that would make logical sense to an individual who is not suffering from mental illness,” Mecca states. “But unfortunately, 90 percent of individuals that do decide to kill themselves are mentally ill.”

However, people cannot attest suicide to mental health and leave it at that, Mecca adds.

“We say that it was the victim that didn’t know what they were doing, and were mentally ill…and then you just leave it at that…And it’s really sad to just leave it at that, because then it’s sort of a ‘my hands are clean of this, that’s sort of their problem’, they were born that way, done,” Mecca stated.

For depressed teens, it may be cliché, but it is important to know that it gets better, said Monte.

Monte has come a long way. Through medication, dialectical behavior therapy and a getting a dog, she is now helping others undergoing similar situations by sharing her story and co-facilitating support groups. She said that supporting others helps her see how far she has come over the years.

“I want to stress that I am happy now, maybe not optimally, but I experience joy frequently as a contrast to being in that dark place,” she said. “So I guess if a teen was struggling, I would encourage them to reach out and get help. When I’m alone with my thoughts, they spiral and amplify — ­­ when I talk to someone, they calm and have less power over me.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Will the Campus Crossroads Project Unify the Notre Dame Campus?

By Katelyn Higgins, John Horlander and Sierra Mayhew • May 15th, 2017

To many, Notre Dame Stadium is a destination six days a year. However, with the creation of the Campus Crossroads project, Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick sought out to make it a destination 365 days a year.

In January 2014, shortly after Notre Dame concluded the 2013 football season, the university announced the largest construction and development project in the school’s history.

The Campus Crossroads Project is precisely that: a “crossroads” of academics, student life, and athletics. At the outset, the projected cost was $400 million, and over three years into the massive task that number has not wavered, school officials say. There are multiple facets to Campus Crossroads: the improvements to the football stadium and fan experience, a new student center and restaurants, new academic offices and classrooms, and more.

All aspects related to the football experience will be finished before the Irish kick off against Temple on Sept. 2, school officials say. The student center and academic buildings will be completed before the start of the 2018 spring semester.

Doug Marsh, the University’s architect and vice president for facilities design and operations said of the project, “Student life, athletics and academics in one building. It’s never been done before.”

Marsh took media on a tour of the Duncan Student Center, the addition on the west side of the stadium. Duncan will have three new eateries, Star Ginger Asian Grill and Noodle Bar, Modern Market and a coffee house featuring Intelligentsia coffee.

The first two floors will also have a student lounge, administrative offices and meeting rooms. The third and fourth floors will have a brand new student recreational facility, which will replace Rolfs Sports Recreation Center upon completion. Rolfs will be completely renovated and become a state-of-the-art practice facility for the Fighting Irish basketball teams.

Additional basketball courts will also be put in the north dome of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, and they will open alongside the opening of the Duncan Student Center. The student rec center will feature a three-floor rock climbing wall, running/walking track, basketball court, and brand new exercise equipment.

The fifth level will be the new home to the career center, complete with interview rooms, offices, and more; the sixth floor is mechanical support. Floors 1-6 will be completed by spring 2018. On the seventh floor is a 500-seat ballroom, club seating, and more. The eighth and ninth floors also cater to premium customers.

The Duncan Student Center, located just a few yards east of the most-frequented classroom building on campus, Debartolo Hall, will offer close, easy access to students when it opens in January 2018. According to Senior Deputy Director of Athletics Missy Conboy, the plan for Duncan is for it to become a central spot on campus for students.

Improved Viewing

When the project was first announced, most believed the enhancements to the stadium were solely to offer premium seating to donors and high-paying guests. However, Conboy said that is not the case.

When the project was approved, Conboy said the school conducted a feasibility study on campus to see how the project would affect each part of campus, from the students and faculty, to the typical Notre Dame Football fan.

One of the initiatives to come from the feasibility study: put Rolfs Rec Center into the Duncan Student Center.

“We were in the midst of planning to build a complex for men’s and women’s basketball programs when we thought what if we relocate Rolf’s, which doesn’t have all that it needs now, to the same space as the student center so students can now have almost everything in the same location,” Conboy said.

Next, they developed plans to enhance the stadium to attract fans away from watching the game from home or at a sports bar. This meant the addition of premium space in the form of skyboxes and other premium seating. What many do not realize was the focus to improve the stadium for the “average Joe” fan.

Conboy said more than a year and a half into the project they realized they had to add updates for the average fan as well.

360 perspective: A look inside Campus Crossroads

ND crossroads tour #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

“We couldn’t open the gates this fall after three years of construction and have fans feel like they were still getting the same thing,” Conboy said.

This meant the majority of the stadium was to get a much needed facelift which included replacing the infamous wood bleachers for new metal covered bleachers. The concourse updates includes new paint and signage, renovating the bathrooms and concessions stands and the addition of over 200 TV monitors so fans can see the game while in the concourse.

Conboy stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of existing stadium. The project repurposed over 90% of the wood bleachers, searched extensively to find brick to match the original bricking and will even hand paint bricks near the gates to match the originals.

She referenced the innovation that Knute Rockne possessed when he built a stadium in the 1920s that held 60,000 people. It was important to continue the innovation with the Campus Crossroads project, she said.

With the stadium known as the “house that Rockne built”, undergoing so many changes, some critics have said it hurts the traditions that make the stadium great. Conboy disagreed.

“If Rockne were around today, he would have done the same thing because he was a great innovator,” she said.

Martyrs or Graduates?

Seniors had many negative opinions on the project have different and personal reasons for their resentment. They responded to a Google Questionnaire rating their feelings from 1-10 on the Campus Crossroads project. They rated their excitement towards the project as 4.4. They took offense to the project in a different way than underclassmen students.

Some seniors say that from the moment that they walked on campus to the day they walk across the stage to accept their degree, they have had to deal with the construction eyesore.

Senior Rachel Dupont, an anthropology major, felt strongly about the project. “I’m really happy that the anthropology department is getting a new place but I do feel like a martyr because I am missing out on a lot of things.”

The excitement about the project that the university has been using to increase morale on campus has been hurting seniors more than helping them.

360 perspective: A view from the 50 yard line

ND stadium 3 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

A Point of View From the Field

Morale has been low after a 4-8 record season for the Notre Dame football team. But one player thinks this project can help turn things around.

The introduction to an improved stadium can really affect the definition of the term “home field advantage.” Ashton White, a safety entering his second year with the football team, stresses the importance of the stadium.


movie_play_blue2Watch more: Video tour of Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series


“It has an effect on wins and losses in the sense that we have a feeling of confidence and comfort that comes from being at home, playing in our stadium and in front of our fans.”

Coming out of a rough season for Notre Dame football, morale is low. These additions have the potential ability to boost the confidence of the fans and the team. Bringing in an improved locker room and stadium atmosphere is exactly what the school needs.

As White explains the excitement that the players have in relation to their experience in the new stadium, it becomes clear that this project has the ability to improve the game of football for not only the viewers but also the men on the field.

Marsh spoke of the project with a great view toward the campus’s future, referring to the renovations as “200 years from now.”

Timeline

Frustrations Build for Campus Sexual Assault Victims, Including at ND

By Marie Fazio and Adrianna Fazio • May 14th, 2017

(Photo/Adrianna Fazio)

Emma Erwin, a sophomore at Notre Dame, holds up a sign at the Take Back the Night event a prayer service at the Grotto. (Photo/Adrianna Fazio)

Editor’s note: The names of the sexual assault victims’ names have been changed in accordance with guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Sarah has been a victim of sexual assault several times throughout her past four years at Notre Dame. Looking back, she sees countless frustrations and internalizations with both the reporting process and her, now convicted, assailant’s treatment.

“People are hard on themselves here, there’s a lot of internalizing of blame and you don’t want to ruin someone’s career,” she said. “That was my biggest drawback. As much as he screwed me over and ruined me in a lot of ways that I can’t get back…I don’t want him to not get a degree. If he gets dismissed, that’s it … he will not graduate with a degree from Notre Dame.”

Sarah is not alone.

Notre Dame has a public and ongoing conversation about sexual assault since the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground” highlighted the story of Lizzy Seeburg, a Saint Mary’s student who took her own life a few days after filing a sexual assault report against a Notre Dame football player.

Notre Dame’s issues are part of a national trend on college campuses. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 23.1 percent of female and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students nationwide experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

Campus Climate Survey

In 2016,  the Notre Dame campus climate survey — which all Notre Dame students had the chance to respond to in the 2016 fall semester — reported 5 percent of females and 1 percent of males who responded had experienced some form of non-consensual sexual intercourse during their time at the university. The term was defined by oral, anal, or vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any object.

Twenty-one percent of Notre Dame females and 4 percent of Notre Dame males reported having experienced other forms of non-consensual sexual contact. This statistic does not align with the low number of reports made every year to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) or the Title IX office.

Map: Notre Dame assaults reported to the community via email, 2013-2017. Source: University of Notre Dame public archives.

NDSP sends out crime alert emails when the Title IX coordinator receives a report of sexual assault on campus. In 2016 and 2017, only four sexual assault-related crime alerts were sent to students, a number that has decreased since 2015.

In the Campus Climate Survey, 90 percent of those who reported having experienced non-consensual sexual assault in the last 12 months said that they did not report the incident. Reasons for not reporting ranged from a lack of faith in the outcomes of reporting to blaming oneself for the incident.

The Process

Heather Ryan, Deputy Title IX Coordinator of Notre Dame, oversees student processes and has a role in administrative investigations and facilitating resources for students reporting. In order to increase reporting, Ryan said the university is trying to improve education about the process and increase agency of the survivor.

“Some of the things we’re trying to do is create spaces where they know about options available… before they have to come in and make a decision,” Ryan said.

“We want to give a complainant agency and help them make choices…..help them understand all the options in every space that we can,” Ryan said.

Photo by Adrianna Fazio

(Photo/Adrianna Fazio)

However, despite the increased education and awareness, there is a mistrust of the system. Sarah, who recently underwent the Administrative Hearing Process, was urged by friends to not report due to their bad experiences with the system. Sarah ultimately chose to report after hearing of other girls who had been harmed by the same perpetrator, but felt that her assailant did not take the hearing seriously because he wasn’t afraid of consequences.

“In my case, my rapist said that he trusts the process,” Sarah said. “Why would you trust the process more than I do? I should be trusting the process to protect me, to benefit me, but the fact that he said, as a respondent, that he trusts the process, in a hearing, on record, and I was like, I don’t- is problematic.”

Based on conversations with students who don’t know anyone personally affected by sexual assault at Notre Dame, many students see the numbers or crime alerts and still don’t fully understand the weight of the issue.

Amelia (whose name has also been changed) is a survivor who was assaulted by a friend of a friend visiting campus.

“Now that it has happened I can see how it could happen to anyone,” she said. “The statistics aren’t accurate because not everyone wants to talk about it…it’s an epidemic I would say.”

Current Movements

The primary movement to combat sexual assault on campus is greeNDot – “violence prevention strategy predicated on the belief that individual safety is a community responsibility and not just that of the victim or perpetrator” (Notre Dame Title IX).

Sarah said, “GreeNDot has become this huge thing that didn’t exist when I got here. But even with that, the culture isn’t changing — it’s not changed — which is really awkward because people will say they’re greeNDot certified… and still rape people.”

On April 20, approximately 100 students and faculty marched from Holy Cross College to Saint Mary’s College, through the Notre Dame campus, and ended at the Grotto to stand in solidarity with all those affected by sexual assault and harassment. The event was part of the international movement, Take Back the Night.

Connie Adams, head of the Belles Against Violence Organization at Saint Mary’s, said, “Take Back the Night is an opportunity to gather together as one. It is only in unity that we will be able to work together to find a solution to end violence and abuse.”

Professor Pamela Butler of the University of Notre Dame, however, had a different take on the issue. Although she sees the value in having professional and institutionalized responses to rape culture, she believes that the most profound movements come directly from student-led movements.

“Students need to make their own voices heard,” she said.

“I’m most concerned with are the professionalization of sexual assault advocacy and response on college campus what we’ve lost with that. I think we’ve gained things, but we’ve lost some things…the centrality of students’ voices to this entire process.”

360-degree image: Google Streetview image of the Take Back the Night vigil at Notre Dame.

The Future

As an additional strategy to combat sexual assault, campus leaders are currently discussing the use of the new app, Callisto. The app’s novelty is rooted in three main elements:

Notre Dame has not officially decided to utilize Callisto on campus, but the conversation is currently in the works, officials said.

Graphic via Callisto website

Graphic via Callisto website

According to the 2016 Campus Climate survey,  91 percent of students agree (68 percent) or somewhat agree (23 percent) that they are aware of strategies to intervene if a situation had the potential for sexual assault. This is a 10 percent increase from the 2015 campus climate survey, an improvement as far as education and awareness about sexual assault.

“I think the more we can get students to be a part of the discussion…that’s how we are going to minimize this, because students are a part of that,” Ryan said. “It’s how do we create space where this isn’t OK.

“I can see it shifting, but it’s not where any of us want it to be.”

Data: Indiana Ranks Low in High School Sports Gender Equity

By Grace Watkins and Cassidy McDonald • April 6th, 2017

The overall picture of gender equity in high school sports is bleak, according to an analysis of Department of Education data.

The 2012 data suggest that 28 percent of all public high schools have large gender gaps in their sports programs. A “large” gender gap is defined as having significantly more boys receive spots on sports teams than girls (relative to the overall distribution of gender in the school).

The 10 worst states for gender equity are all in the South. Only six states have fewer than 10 percent of public high schools with large gender gaps.

Indiana has the 35th worst ranking. 28 percent of its public high schools have large gender gaps. The good news is that Indiana improved four percent from the 2010-11 school year to the 2011-12 school year. –– Grace Watkins


Title IX and Girls High School Sports

“There’s no crying in baseball.”

That’s the frequently cited tagline from the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” which tells the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, a wartime effort to fill the gap in men’s baseball with women’s teams.

But the film includes a lesser-known line that’s perhaps even more poignant today. Coach Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) says to Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) when she considers quitting: “Sneaking out like this, quitting, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up. You can’t deny that.”

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the statute that prohibited discrimination in college and high school athletics and allowed millions of women to participate in sports. (And as Dugan would say, helped them learn what “lights them up.”)

Take a look at what has changed, and check out the state of high school women’s athletics in Indiana today. — Cassidy McDonald

Notre Dame by the Numbers: Breakdown of Fighting Irish Sports Statistics

By Staff • April 6th, 2017

Notre Dame hockey’s regular-season average attendance hit its lowest point since the opening of the Compton Family Ice Arena in October 2011.

Despite the low turnout, the program is having one of its most successful seasons in years. The fourth-seeded Irish topped both Minnesota and second-seeded UMass Lowell to head to the Frozen Four this weekend for the first time since 2011 and the third time in program history.

The following chart tracks the average attendance since the opening of the Compton Family Ice Arena six seasons ago. — Teagan Dillon


Disparities in Irish Men’s Basketball Scoring

On a 13-member team, four Notre Dame men’s basketball players scored 2,140 of the season’s 2,783 points:

  • Bonzie Colson (639)
  • V.J. Beachem (522)
  • Matt Farrell (506)
  • Steve Vasturi (473)

Four players scored nearly 78 percent of the team’s points, so the key to next year’s success could be a fifth starter who can score in the 400-point range. Temple Gibbs, this year’s fifth starter, scored 168. — Erin McAuliffe


Study: Indianapolis Among Top 10 Cities for School Choice

By Cassidy McDonald • March 2nd, 2017

School choice —a movement to provide alternatives to public school — is sure to be a top priority for President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, during his first joint address to Congress, Trump called for a bipartisan school choice bill which would aim to help disadvantaged children trapped in failing schools. Indianapolis is one of the top U.S. cities for giving parents a choice on where to attend schoo.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made headlines this week, however, when she called historically black colleges and universities — which were created in response to racial segregation — “pioneers” of school choice.

She later backpedaled on this statement, but continued to draw parallels between school choice and historically black colleges and universities.


Take a look at the top 10 cities that currently allow some form of school choice, as graded by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an ideologically conservative research organization.

These cities have seen mixed results in their alternative education programs, but offer the policies, public support and programming most conducive to school choice:

(City rankings from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute)