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Reconsidering the Victory March

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We write to you today as mother and daughter, alumna and student of Notre Dame. We write about something very dear to the Notre Dame family: The Victory March, or fight song, if you will. Last weekend, we attended the USC game and, along with thousands of other cheering fans, belted out the fight song. Caity, the student, got the chance to sing it with both the student body and with her family. And believe it or not, she sang two different versions. The student body finished off the fight song with, “…while her loyal sons are marching onward to victory.” Our family, however, finished it off with, “…while her loyal sons and daughters march on to victory.”

You see, Caity and her seven siblings are the proud legacies of two 1980 Notre Dame grads, who taught their kids the latter version. Yes, in the years from 1976-1980, at least some of the members of the Notre Dame student body sang a gender-inclusive fight song! So, why the regression to the sexist, exclusive version we sing today? Or at least, why didn’t the inclusive version catch on? We have absolutely no idea. It is simply shameful that the Notre Dame student body is perpetuating the current version, and we think it’s high time we include the loyal daughters of Notre Dame in our Victory March. Coeducation at Notre Dame began 35 years ago, and women now make up nearly 50 percent of the student body. We don’t care that only men play football; we sing the song at Notre Dame events of all kinds that include both men and women.

We suggest that the current history-making pair of female student government leaders take this on and make even more history by including women in the fight song. After all, what a shame it is that male students get to raise their hands in the air on “sons” and female students have to raise their hands on “her,” which refers to Our Lady, and not to the women of Notre Dame.

Caity Schneemansenior Cavanaugh Hall

Erin Burns SchneemanClass of 1980St. Paul, Minn.Oct. 27