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Ticket lottery divides students

Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 6, 2006

So now that we’ve all aired our opposing views on the ticket lottery situation, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at what has been said and what has been ignored. Let’s establish who I am first: I am a graduate student in my fifth year, so I’ve seen a lot of social and justice issues being aired in this debate.

The Observer editorial made some good points but failed to offer proper context. Graduate students are removed from the social identity of the campus, but in large part that is because Notre Dame is so inwardly focused on its small families that it excludes anyone who doesn’t enter into that structure their way. Don’t blame or punish the grad students because they don’t fit the traditional mold.

At the same time, please do not belittle us by claiming the undergraduate “identity.” The reason Notre Dame is a top-notch undergraduate school is because it attracts top-notch graduate students to help teach its classes and labs. Without those graduate students, many important classes would cease to function in the way you have come to know.

That said, I think this whole argument arises from a lack of focus on the part of the graduate students who started it. While we are students by definition, we are here with a very different purpose. Most of us are here not to be traditional students, but to make the step from students to professionals.

In many cases the students raising these issues are on stipend programs, which means we don’t pay tuition, and right there is the best argument for excluding us from the lottery. As I read the initial protest e-mail I was stunned by the amount of energy and intensity that people would put into even a chance to get tickets. I can only imagine what these people might be accomplishing in their research if they weren’t planning protests. Maybe the saddest part of this to me is that of all the problems we as graduate students have, from healthcare costs to cost-of-living adjustments and child-care to parking, that we have wasted what little bargaining power we have on sports tickets. In my opinion it’s a sad situation – there are so many positive things we could have fought for that would have united, not divided. This is just the opinion of one graduate student who has been around the block.

Take it or leave it, but let this die and solve bigger problems next time.

Chris Nicholson

grad student

off campus

Nov. 3