Spirit of exclusion
Liam Dacey | Tuesday, March 22, 2011
For those of us who fight for GLBT rights at Notre Dame, a clear pattern quickly becomes evident. Year in and year out, the administration finds yet another excuse as to why we can’t “push the envelope” at a Catholic institution like Notre Dame. In regards to gaining approval for a GLBT student group and adding sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination clause, many excuses have been made over the past decade: “We are the most prominent Catholic school in the country and have too many ties to The Vatican;” “We already do enough for our GLBT students;” “There is not enough trust between the administration and our GLBT students;” “We don’t have a club for our ‘straight’ students, so we can not have one for our GLBT students.” The list goes on and on.
Despite the constant rejection, students on campus continue to apply each year for a GLBT club or some form of gay-straight alliance (GSA). Petitions are signed by students, faculty, staff and alumni to add “sexual orientation” to the nondiscrimination clause. And the fight goes on. The excuses made by the administration simply are just that: excuses. While it is true that the University does far more for its GLBT students now in 2011 than it did in 1991, we are still in the homophobic Stone Ages compared to other elite colleges and universities throughout the country, including many other major Catholic universities.
One of the most glaring contradictions may be that Saint Mary’s has both an officially approved GSA (SAGA) as well as an inclusive nondiscrimination statement. Is church teaching different at Saint Mary’s than it is at Notre Dame? And what about the 28 Catholic colleges and universities that offer domestic partner benefits to gays and lesbians? Check the 2007 Human Rights Campaign study for yourself to see. The largest Catholic university in the country in terms of number of students, DePaul, even has its own GLBT office, as well as three GLBT student groups and an inclusive nondiscrimination clause.
In the face of the tragic suicides of GLBT students at schools across the country earlier this year, we must fight even harder to stop the administration’s homophobia and intolerance. Put your name on the petition and let it be made known that you do not agree with the homophobic policies that the administration has strictly enforced throughout our University’s history. Separate is not equal. The thousands of GLBT alumni from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, as well as like-minded alumni of all sexual orientations, will continue to fight by your side on the march to full equality.
GALA ND SMC Chair
GALA ND SMC Vice Chair
GALA ND SMC Secretary
GALA ND SMC Treasurer
GALA ND SMC past Chair