Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In my four years here, I have been less than thrilled by certain events on campus - the football team going 0-5 in 2007, the seemingly endless need to water the sidewalks or the lack of $5 footlongs at Subway – but I have never been moved enough to write a Viewpoint Letter to the Editor. However, the announcement of President Barack Obama as the Commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree shocked me.
When I first heard that President Obama was to speak, I double-checked the online news source I was reading to make sure that I was not accidentally reading “The Onion.” While I would support President Obama if he were to speak at Notre Dame under the practice of academic freedom, I find that he is deserving of neither the honor of speaking at Notre Dame’s Commencement nor does he deserve to receive an honorary degree from the University. To bestow these honors on a man who is consistently against the beliefs of the Catholic Church and the University is an utter disgrace to Notre Dame. In my four years here, the real disappointment is not that we went 0-4 against USC, marked two decades since our last National Championship or never got a snow day. Rather, it is that Notre Dame and the administration succumbed to the celebrification of a man who consistently supports many of the beliefs that the Church vehemently opposes and is actually honoring him at this year’s Commencement.
Not only has Notre Dame lost my respect, but they have also lost my intent to contribute to the University anytime in the near future. I have worked in the Notre Dame Phone Center for nearly eight semesters. In that time, I have spoken with hundreds of alumni and have solicited nearly $90,000 in alumni contributions because I believed in the value of a Notre Dame education. Many of you may have seen the green Hollaback T-shirts promoting the recent Thanksgiving in February hosted by the Annual Fund. This was held to thank alumni for their financial support of Notre Dame as well as to raise awareness among students that tuition only covers the cost of an education at Notre Dame through February, with the remaining months funded by contributions, in hopes that students would keep Notre Dame in mind when considering charitable donations after graduation. Until now, I have had every intent to contribute to Notre Dame after I graduate in whatever capacity I could afford because every dollar does make a difference. However, unless the administration acts to prove otherwise, I now believe that my contributions will be better spent at other charitable institutions.
Seniors, in a few weeks, you will start receiving phone calls from the Phone Center asking you to contribute to the Annual Fund or to the Senior Class Gift. I strongly encourage you to consider how the dollars you pledge will be spent. If you do decide to donate money to Notre Dame, be aware that you can restrict your contribution to a group, residence hall or activity that you feel will make the best use of your dollars. After all, each dollar you donate could have been spent on four quarter dogs.