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Rethink SAO

Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 31, 2008

Relay for Life is a national event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that was established as an event to bring people together to celebrate those who have survived cancer and remember those who have lost the battle. It is a community event that serves not only to raise money for cancer research but also fosters hope in those affected by the disease, both for victims and their loved ones.

In the past, this event here at Notre Dame has been primarily run by faculty. This year we have formed a student committee in the attempt to gain more student involvement and excitement about the event, as so many students are affected by this disease. However, in our attempts to make this a more student-oriented event, we have hit several road blocks. Many Notre Dame students are familiar with the difficulties of dealing with the Student Activities Office (SAO) and Student Affairs. We understand that these particular offices exist for the regulation of student clubs on campus, but an office so unwilling to give any leeway to this, a national event as opposed a student club event, seems to us to be more of a hindrance to students than a help. A few weeks ago, SAO halted our efforts of selling T-shirts to fundraise and advertise Relay on the grounds that they did not have a club name on them.

Another problem we have encountered is that, since Relay is an event that lasts throughout the entire night, every Relay around the country has tents for people to rest in. However, the vice president of student affairs banned the use of camping tents at Relay because of parietals. We would like to know why Habitat for Humanity’s Shack City is allowed to take place, with students of both genders sleeping in enclosed cardboard shacks for the entire night. Shack City is also a national event which has been allowed to take place in its intended form here at Notre Dame. Why not Relay for Life? We do not understand the inconsistent policy or SAO’s lack of leniency toward this national event.

We feel that Student Affairs and SAO should reevaluate their policies. We understand that it is important to regulate student events; however, perhaps the various University offices should reflect on the true purpose of each of their policies. Why is it so important, for example, that a club name be on a T-shirt?

Sarah Lane

junior

Farley Hall

Mar. 18