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Parietals and football

Matt Charnley | Monday, September 3, 2012

The University of Notre Dame has one set of rules that make it one of the most unique, and sometimes one of the most frustrating, places to live and work. These rules, of course, are parietals. Violation of parietals results in punishments as extreme as the loss of on-campus living privileges. Projects, school work or simple conversation are never legitimate reasons to “break parietals.”

This rule has always been a part of Notre Dame, and neither the changing times nor the pressures of a society driven by gender equality caused this rule to change. I had assumed that nothing would ever change the parietals structure, until a trip to the dining hall revealed a sign announcing that parietals would start at 8 a.m. instead of the normal 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Why this drastic change? Did the University decide that its students should have more freedom with who they talk to and when? Was it finally realized that being able to meet someone in class, but not in your dorm room, does not make sense? No, neither of these reasons caused the change in parietals. Only one thing did: Notre Dame football. The presence of the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game starting at 9 a.m. caused the University to end parietals an hour earlier. And yet, if you want to meet with a friend of the opposite sex to handle something before class, it is not allowed.

Parietals have been fairly constant at Notre Dame since its foundation, and I know nothing is ever going to change that. However, if something were to change at this school, I feel like it should be for the right reasons. Giving students more time to work collaboratively, relieving some of the social tension generated by these situations, or helping to improve the lives of students would all be great reasons. The fact that a football game over 3,500 miles away is causing this change shows what the ideals of this University are really centered on, and it’s not the average student.

Matt Charnley
Keenan Hall
Sept. 2