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Realignment and research

Dinesh Rajan | Thursday, September 23, 2010

I agree with Andy’s comments about why Notre Dame should remain an independent entity in football (“Conference realignment 101,” Sept. 21). In fact, I am one of those who say an emphatic “No!” when asked if we should join the Big Ten conference. I will never want to see our storied football tradition and history be gradually whittled away by being part of a conference.

But our agreements stop there when Andy somehow mashes together football with academic research and education. I fail to see any connection there. Firstly, this is not about Notre Dame associating itself with a group of schools. To remind Andy, we are already part of the Big East for some of our other sports and that association has never affected and should never affect the quality of education Notre Dame offers, or for that matter, the stance towards certain fields of research that are in conflict with our Catholic beliefs. This is not about our associations but about our football traditions and getting to keep and cherish them.

Secondly, even if there was a connection, how does performing world-class research undermine the superior quality of undergraduate education that Notre Dame strives to offer? If that was the case, I am pretty sure every university would abandon its research programs and graduate school. As someone who has been through both undergraduate and graduate school, I strongly believe that the classroom experiences are greatly enhanced when there are opportunities to apply them in research projects. There is no quicker and better way to higher learning than working to solve challenging problems that plague our community. Besides, the satisfaction of having contributed to solving such problems is unparalleled. So, having a focus towards doing world-class research is there to only complement and enrich the classroom experiences and feeling of community that Notre Dame offers; not to replace them. We should only be proud that we are making strides towards also being known for our research programs.

Finally, who said we cannot be all three? A top undergraduate institution, a world-class research university and a national championship winning independent football program. Go Irish!

Dinesh Rajan

graduate student

Fischer Graduate Residence

Sept. 21