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Senate passes non-discrimination resolution

Scott Englert | Thursday, January 21, 2010

Senators examined two pressing campus issues in its Wednesday night meeting — first in a discussion of a new resolution that calls for an examination of Notre Dame’s policies toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and second in examination of how to provide relief to Haiti.

Resolution SS0910-09, titled “A Resolution Proposing the Review of Notre Dame’s Policies Regarding Homosexual Members of Our Community,” was proposed by Robyn Grant and Patrick Tighe, co-chairman of the Committee on Gender Issues.

In addition to referencing the 96 Catholic universities that already have existing Gay-Straight Alliances, Grant encouraged all Notre Dame students to draw upon their faiths and moral values to create a more welcoming campus for the LGBT community.

“As true Catholics, look beyond sexual orientation,” Grant said.  “One should never attract discrimination, harassment or violence.”

Breen-Philips senator Maria Lynch praised the resolution as needed step of action in response to the recent comic published in The Observer.

“We have a tangible event that there’s a problem on our campus,” Lynch said.  The “comic was a violent threat against these students.”

The resolution also calls for the University to amend its non-discrimination clause to include sexual orientation.

Student body vice president Cynthia Weber expressed the significance that the resolution will not stop at only examining legal issues.

“It has the possibility of addressing cultural issues and other issues outside of legal issues,” Weber said.

The Senate voted — with 25 in favor of, zero against and one abstaining — to pass the resolution.

In other Senate news:

Concerning the relief efforts for Haiti, student body president Grant Schmidt announced that student government had collected more than $5,200 from the student body. The money will be given to organization such as the Red Cross, Catholic Relief, Holy Cross Missions and the Notre Dame Haiti Program, he said.

A formal decision of how the funds will be appropriated is scheduled to be made Friday.
 “This isn’t the only effort Notre dame students are making,” University Affairs chairman Jeff Lakusta said.

Texting funds to Haiti relief hotlines and participating in dorm Mass collections are only two of the numerous ways that Notre Dame Students are helping the victims in Haiti, senators said.