The student senate gathered Thursday evening to provide updates on planning for the spring semester and winter break and to swear in a new senator.Chief of staff, senior Aaron Benavides announced the Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening convened Wednesday evening. The group met with University President Fr. John Jenkins to discuss his appearance at the White House for the announcement of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Benavides said the discussion focused on rebuilding trust with Jenkins following his release from isolation after his diagnosis of COVID-19. “We will be continuing conversations with him as we work to rebuild trust and get on the right path again with the administration,” Benavides said. The Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening also met with vice president of the Graduate School Dr. Laura Carlson, vice president and associate provost for undergraduate affairs Fr. Hugh Page and provost Marie Lynn Miranda to discuss the possibility of amending the spring semester to provide a break for students and faculty and to receive updates regarding programming for winter break. Ryan Peters | The Observer Chief of staff, senior Aaron Benavides addresses the student senate Thursday. The meeting touched on updates regarding spring semester and the 10 week winter break.The advisory group sent out a survey Tuesday evening to gain student feedback about how to incorporate an academic reprieve into the spring schedule. Benavides said the group received over 800 responses to the survey in fewer than 24 hours.“We’re so happy to see people filling that out, and we are so grateful to get students’ perspectives on how difficult this semester has been,” he said.The survey feedback was sent to Miranda, who is hoping to finalize her plans for the schedule for next semester by the end of the month, according to Benavides.Benavides added that Page said the courses and programming that will be offered during the winter session are expected to be finalized and sent out by the end of the month.Following Benavides’ announcement, Rachel Ingal, senior student body president, announced that the Campus Life Council (CLC) held its first meeting Thursday morning. Ingal, who serves as chair of the CLC, said the council had a productive dialogue about student behavior and the need for an academic break in the spring.“We talked about weekend behavior and heard from the rector as to what they saw going on on campus and in the residence halls and … just how they think their residents are feeling. And [the rector was] taught from a student perspective as to kind of why we’re backsliding a little bit in terms of our behavior,” Ingal said.Ingal said the meeting served as a unique opportunity to provide updates from the student perspective directly to Student Affairs about the stress students are experiencing from a semester with no breaks. After the executive announcements, Dan Law took an oath of office to be instated as Dillion Hall senator. Law was sworn in following the resignation of senior Michael Dugan. (Editor’s Note: Dugan is a former News Writer and Systems Administrator at The Observer.) Dugan resigned following controversy surrounding a Letter to the Editor he and other Dillon officials submitted in September. Tags: Campus Life Council, campus reopening, Rose garden, student senate
We’re losing our minds! Before Gypsy on Broadway, Imelda Staunton will headline a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the U.K.’s National Theatre. Directed by Dominic Cooke and co-starring Janie Dee, the Daily Mail reports that the production is set to bow next year.Staunton has been nominated for eleven Olivier Awards, winning four, including for her recent performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy. She will next be seen in the West End in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Other stage credits include Sweeney Todd, Circle, Mirror, Transformation and A Delicate Balance. Film credits include Vera Drake and Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films. Dee won the Olivier for Comic Potential and Carousel. Her numerous additional stage credits include Noises Off, Hello Dolly!, Blithe Spirit, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ah, Wilderness! and Hand to God.On the soon-to-be demolished stage of the crumbling Weismann Theatre, a reunion is being held to honor the Weismann Follies and the beautiful showgirls who were once its stars. As two couples remember their pasts and face the harsh realities of the present, the shadows of their younger selves remind them of the complicated steps they’ve danced, both on the stage and throughout their lives.Featuring a book by James Goldman and music and lyrics by Sondheim, Follies contains well-known songs including “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here,” “Too Many Mornings,” “Could I Leave You?” and “Losing My Mind.” The original Broadway production of Follies was directed by Harold Prince and opened on April 4, 1971, running for 522 performances and garnering seven Tony Awards. Imelda Staunton(Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images) View Comments
In 2016 a documentary by filmmaker Rosie Jones put the spotlight on an Australian doomsday cult called “The Family.” Although The Family has followers to this day, not many people were aware of its existence. It was created in the early 1960s and operated by Anne Hamilton-Byrne, her husband Bill Hamilton-Byrne, and Raynor Johnson, an Oxford physician and prominent member of the Australian elite. The cult taught a mixture of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, proclaiming Anne Hamilton-Byrne as the Messiah, or the female reincarnation of Jesus. Later in its existence the cult focused primarily on the gathering and indoctrination of children. Her charming and charismatic personality attracted a number of followers, especially from the high social circles in Melbourne.Hamilton-Byrne adopted 28 children, and at least half of them believed that she was their biological mother. She said that she loved children — she might have liked the idea of having them, but she had some perverse ideas on raising them. Her now-grown-up children recall being punished or starved for the smallest disobedience, as well as being regularly injected with LSD.Melbourne, Australia.Born Evelyn Edwards in 1921, she had a dysfunctional childhood. Her mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and she barely knew her father. Another misfortune in her life was the tragic death of her first husband, in a traffic accident. In 1960, Anne discovered yoga.At the time, new age-style soul-searching was quite popular among intellectuals and academics, and feminism was on the rise. Tactically, Edwards opened a yoga studio in a suburb of Melbourne where she taught mostly middle-aged women who were bored and unhappy in their marriages.Edwards offered love to anyone who needed it, and she was charming enough for people to trust her. She encouraged women to leave their husbands, and invited everyone to follow her.Things got more serious when Edwards met Raynor Johnson, master of the Methodist Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne. He was also deeply interested in spiritualism and took yoga lessons with Edwards. He was taken in by her charm, and besides bringing her more and more people, Johnson also offered his property, “Santiniketan,” at the outskirts of Melbourne for philosophical discussions among the group.Ferny Creek, the suburb where Raynor Johnson had his house. Photo by Davidarfonjones CC BY-SA 3.0While on LSD, Edwards became convinced that she was the female reincarnation of Jesus. The members who joined what Edwards started calling “The Family” were mostly rich people who not only made hefty donations to the sect, but also gifted their leader with money, houses, and properties around Australia and the U.S.Anne started preaching that a Third World War was coming — another LSD fueled fantasy — that was going to be so destructive that they, The Family, would have to guide the few people who survive.In 1968, Anne and her partner Bill changed their surnames to Hamilton-Byrne. They began gathering infants, some natural children of the sect’s members, and others acquired through legal adoption. Adam Lancaster, who grew up in the cult, told CBS: “Under the influence of LSD, she had this vision that she’s got to collect all these children from birth.”“Because the end of the world was coming,” recollects Dave Whitaker, another cult survivor. Hamilton-Byrne set about preparing the children to educate anyone who survived her Armageddon.Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s vision of raising a “master race” that would survive the impending apocalypse came to her during an LSD trip.The adoption procedures in Australia at the time were poorly regulated, and a number of doctors, social workers, and lawyers who were members of The Family made sure the process ran smoothly. Birth certificates were forged so that all the children would take the name Hamilton-Byrne.“You had babies born in cult hospitals, delivered by cult midwives, handed over to cult social workers,” said Lex de Man, one of the two detectives who worked on bringing charges against Hamilton-Byrne.Top 10 Notorious CultsAt the age of 14, all children went through the cult’s initiation ritual which involved giving them LSD for the first time. After that, the children were frequently given huge doses of the drug.Deprived of happiness, love, care, and the right to childhood, the kids lived in a trauma that was increased throughout their teenage years. Many of them developed anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal.Sarah Moore, an adopted daughter of leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne, blames her illness on mistreatment by the cult. May 15, 2014. Photo by Eddie Jim/Fairfax Media via Getty ImagesAlthough there were investigators looking into the sect, there wasn’t enough evidence against Anne until 1987. Her “favorite daughter,” Sarah Hamilton-Byrne, got expelled from The Family at the age of 17 for rebellion and lack of obedience.Soon after, the girl met Helen D., a private investigator who had been scrutinizing the sect for a while. The detective told Sarah who her real biological mother was, and how she was acquired by The Family. Sarah was central to the downfall of the group. All the children were taken away from the property in a police raid, and the leader, along with her husband, escaped to the U.S. where she also owned property.The FBI finally arrested Anne Hamilton-Byrne in 1993 and she was extradited to Australia. Unfortunately, the only charges brought against her were fraud and conspiracy related to the falsified adoptions.Read another story from us: Abbey of Thelema: The Italian villa where occultist Aleister Crowley shocked the worldAged 98, Anne is living in a nursing home in Melbourne and suffers from dementia. The story got very popular in the media with the release of Jones’ documentary, and the book The Family: The Shocking True Story of a Notorious Cult, co-written by Rosie Jones and Chris Johnston.Many ex-members and children gave their brave confessions in the documentary.