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We’re in full support’

John Cameron | Friday, December 7, 2012

While “Beloved Friends and Allies,” the plan for expanding services to Gay, Bisexual, Trangender and Questioning (GLBTQ) students and establishing an official student organization, is a collaborative effort by the Office of the President, Student Affairs and a number of consulted groups, student body president Brett Rocheleau said he considers the resolution to be his administration’s most important project thus far.
Rocheleau said he and his predecessors in student government have been pushing for this move forward for decades.
“We’ve advocated for this since 1986,” he said. “Pretty much every administration along the way has advocated for more inclusive [GLBTQ] environment in the Notre Dame community whether it be a variety of different causes but definitely a student organization was one of them.”
He said student government’s coordinated efforts in advocating for a student organization have spanned his two years in an executive position.
“The last two years, I know [student body president emeritus] Pat [McCormick] and I and [student body vice president] Katie Rose and I have made this a major issue on our platforms,” he said. “The effort was definitely reenergized by the [Progressive Student Alliance’s] 4 to 5 Movement, it got a lot more discussion on campus. … You had students not involved in the process talking about it.”
Rocheleau’s initial role in the effort was a presentation to the University’s Board of Trustees last semester.
“Student government chose to present to the Board of Trustees about this issue back in May of 2012, and when we came back to campus we found out they’d done some extensive benchmarking effort,” he said.
Over the course of Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding’s review, Rocheleau said his office gave extensive input.
“They brought us in, current members of Core [Council for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Students], the petition holders for the [proposed] graduate students [GLBTQ] club, and [unofficial gay-straight alliance] AllianceND,” he said. “We had meetings with Student Affairs where we collaborated on various ideas on how we wanted this to work.”
While much of the effort came from the administration, AllianceND, the Core Council and other students, Rocheleau said his office was behind the movement at every step.
“Through the whole process we’ve been in contact with [Progressive Student Alliance co-president] Alex Coccia, when he would send any recommendations or different materials to student affairs, when it was Pat and I, we’d have our names on those,” he said.
Rocheleau said he was proud of the plan announced Wednesday by University administration.
“We’re in full support,” he said. “We think this is a great step forward for the University and we’re proud to be a part of the process.”
Now that the plan has been established, Rocheleau said his administration’s role will now be to help figure out some of the practical implementation of the organization.
“The next big step is sort of how to define it … and how the organization can get its funding,” he said. “Those are things our [Oversight Committee] is sort of working on. That’s going to be the second semester project, sort of answering to some of the more minor details.”
While the plan is in its early stages, Rocheleau is confident it will benefit the campus community.
“It’s been a great collaboration between all the parties coming to a middle ground. I think this will be an excellent student organization,” he said. “I’m interested to see how it happens in practice, I think it’s going to be positive. It won’t necessarily be around in our term but I think it has the potential to be extremely successful.”
This collaborative effort, Rocheleau said, is what made the plan possible.
“I’m thankful for all the help from all the different parties. No one could have done this alone,” he said. “Without everyone working together this couldn’t have been accomplished.”