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Core Council response

Core Council | Monday, January 18, 2010

To the Editor:

We write to join our voices to the many concerned members of the Notre Dame community who have already expressed shock, dismay and anger at the intolerance demonstrated in a “cartoon” published in the Jan. 13 edition of The Observer. While we appreciate the effort by the editors of the newspaper and the authors of “The Mobile Party” to apologize for this offense against our common life as a University, we need to acknowledge the serious nature of the violent message of this “comic strip” and its complete disregard for the dignity of GLBT persons on the campus and beyond. We also wish to recognize this moment as an opportunity for reflection, education and purposeful resolution about the future.

These are matters of deep and abiding concern for us. For the past four years as the Core Council for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Students (and for a number of years previously as the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs), we have provided emotional, social, spiritual and educational support for our GLBT students, as well as outreach to the University at large to strengthen its efforts to create a welcoming community for all. In addition to advising the Vice President for Student Affairs on matters related to the GLBT student experience at Notre Dame, we have hosted numerous educational programs including CommUnity, NETWORK, Solidarity Sunday and Stand Against Hate Week. We are grateful for the persons who have publically identified themselves as allies in these efforts, and we are encouraged by the number of students, faculty, staff and alumni who have recently contacted us to demonstrate continuing support for us and our work. We are especially heartened by Fr. Jenkins’ statement on Friday in which he denounced any expression of hate toward any persons or groups at the University. We, too, rely upon The Spirit of Inclusion as a charter document that guides and inspires us.

During the Fall 2009 CommUnity presentations in the residence halls, the GLBT student speakers and allies challenged their audiences to identify five concrete actions to which each person and residential community could commit in order to promote a truly welcoming community for our GLBT members.  Among the most common recommendations for action were the elimination of hate speech in all of its forms and an open challenge to anyone engaging in that behavior. (Often mentioned in this vein were directly derogatory and threatening terms, as well as phrases encountered in some student subcultures, such as “that’s so gay…”) As this incident sadly illustrates, we all need to continuously commit to such resolutions in order to create and improve the ways Notre Dame accepts and affirms the GLBT persons in our midst.

The Core Council for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Students

Eddie Velasquez and Sr. Sue Dunn, O.P.
Patrick Bears
Jason G’Sell
Laura Lauck
Fr. Joe Carey, C.S.C.
Melanie LeMay
Maureen Lafferty, Ed.D.
Matt Momont
Heather Rakoczy Russell
Rachel Washington
Sara Wright-Avila
Fr. Mark Poorman, C.S.C.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Jan. 17