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Jenkins’ decision fulfills obligation

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Professor Charles Rice, once again, proves that bigotry and close-mindedness are common, even at a premier university like Notre Dame. In his latest diatribe, Rice actually has the audacity to compare “The Vagina Monologues” and the [former] Queer Film Festival with anti-Semitism. He goes on to question why such forums get an “easy pass” at Notre Dame.

The short answer, Professor Rice, is that University President Father John Jenkins understands that raising awareness and allowing for open discussion about important issues has a crucial place in a university setting. He realizes that limiting such discussion does nothing to promote moral values, rather it fosters bigotry and ignorance.

Unlike acts of anti-Semitism which promote hate, “The Vagina Monologues” and [former] Queer Film Festival provide venues for honest and candid discussion about tolerance and human dignity. This is not a contradiction of the values of Notre Dame, but rather the truest manifestation of academic freedom and Catholic teachings.

Fortunately, most of the Notre Dame community, including Jenkins, understands that the integrity of Notre Dame will only be undermined by the kind of intolerance represented in Rice’s comments. While those guided by such fear might consider forums like the [former] Queer Film Festival to be “substantive defects,” others realize that giving a voice to those who are discriminated against and subjugated is a moral responsibility.

Jenkins – please know that many of us in the Notre Dame community commend you for your bravery. Rice – it is you who should resign.

Ken SeifertalumnusClass of 2002April 25