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Students must promote diversity, respect

Deka Motanya | Monday, September 22, 2003

As long as I have been a student at this school, I have noticed things I wish were different. Lately, two issues have really been bothering me.Too often, I hear criticisms from the student body about the lack of diversity at Notre Dame. While I support this claim, I also recognize that nothing will change until the students drastically change their mentalities.The University exerts tremendous effort to recruit minority students; it hosts clubs and organizations to promote diversity and foster community among students of all backgrounds and employs a very diverse faculty and staff. There are students who take advantage of all the opportunities the University provides, but it is always the same students.I bring this up because I was disappointed by the student attendance Sunday evening to hear the president of Nigeria speak. How often do speakers of that caliber visit our University? The JACC should have been full, but I do not think even a third was occupied. The conference, “A Call to Solidarity with Africa,” is an example of the wonderful opportunities and events the administration, faculty and staff bring to this campus, but the interest and participation on the part of the students is desperately lacking.Second, I was slightly disgusted the article about marshmallow throwing actually made the front page of Monday’s Observer but thoroughly disgusted by Brett Campbell’s and Dan Zychinski’s cartoon mocking NDSP and our stadium ushers. I can almost see how marshmallow throwing is a “tradition” that we should be proud of, but it definitely will not be the tradition I think of when remembering what makes Notre Dame exceptional.What angers me about the whole ordeal is the disrespect I witnessed toward the ushers. There is no reason someone should be asked three times to stop throwing objects at people. And it is absolutely inexcusable to yell at an usher who is doing his job and looking out for the best interests of the students. To the young man I saw raise his voice and talk back to an usher who was at least 60 years old, and to anyone else who thinks that behavior is justifiable, who are you to be so insolent to a University official? Yeah, yeah, we are adults and should be able to do whatever we want, but that does not mean we forget how to treat other people, especially those who deserve our respect. In my section, the students were beyond obnoxious, and I am happy they were asked to leave.

Deka MotanyaseniorWalsh HallSept. 22