The campus that cries wolf
Mark Gianfalla | Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Much like the United States itself, Notre Dame is a dynamic melting pot where people of varying backgrounds connect to offer insight into various cultures and ideologies. Also not unique to Notre Dame is its students’ tendency to cry wolf all too often in response to campus activism. It is no secret that the College Republicans (of which I am the president) is hosting Ann Coulter as our Lincoln Day Speaker this Thursday, that a group of students published the “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” photo blog and that a group of students formed a new campus group named SCOP, or Students for Child-Oriented Policy.
In the day and age where media relays information faster than ever, it is no surprise that news of these happenings spreads like wildfire around campus. However, the reactions that followed and surrounded these announcements is actually more telling of the University’s student body.
As the president of the College Republicans, I have been the center of attacks as well as interviews focusing on the question, “Why Coulter?” Our club has been accused of intentionally polarizing the student body, and the founders of SCOP have been accused of fostering the degradation of those identifying as GLBTQ. There have even been murmurs of a demonstration against Ann Coulter and our club’s decision to host her, planned by racially exclusive special interest clubs.
None of these accusations and objections is sound, yet a vocal, hypocritical minority is behind these baseless claims aimed at liberalizing the student body and misinforming Our Lady’s students.
Our club’s decision to host Ann Coulter is simple: no other speaker is capable of bringing the same level of relatable energy and attention to the social conservative platform that is at the core of Catholic Social Teaching and our club’s mission; i.e. traditional marriage and abortion, to name a few. Those who have spoken out against our hosting of Miss Coulter have falsely stated, aside from accusing our club of intentional polarization, that she is a racist and encourages hatred.
I would like to lead your attention to two events on campus that went unnoticed and without criticism in the same light, one of which was even promoted by one of the organizations planning to demonstrate against Miss Coulter.
On March 28, the rap artist Mike Jones performed at Legends on campus. The week before, the “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” photo blog launched, promoted and supported by the Black Student Association (BSA). The BSA, along with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, have been vocally opposed to the College Republicans’ hosting of Ann Coulter on terms including her being racially offensive, and have been planning a demonstration in opposition to the event Thursday. However, when Mike Jones performed at Legends, no such demonstration or outrage existed. Ann Coulter, a best-selling author, journalist and juris doctor, has never used the N-word to my knowledge, yet Mike Jones has a song titled “Type of N***a you Need” and he raps other racial slurs. Ann Coulter, who often addresses inner-city poverty and radical Islam, speaks to real issues based on history and fact, yet gets attacked by campus minority groups instead of a rapper who openly uses racially derogative language just for the sake of entertainment and record sales.
Additionally, the College Republicans’ invitation of a conservative figure to speak to a conservative club is not polarizing. The outspoken opposition and demonstration are, in fact, the polarizing reactions. The “I, Too, Am Notre Dame” photo blog, which accuses members of the Notre Dame student body of being racist (without proof that these racist statements ever took place) is a much more polarizing project, not surprisingly supported by racial special interest clubs whose own racially exclusive names and mission statements are much more polarizing and discriminatory than any speaker invitation.
With that said, I want to highlight a specific quote by the blog’s founder from the April 3 article in The Observer detailing the blog: “If you were to take this project, respond to it negatively and move backwards, that would be a problem.” Another student involved in the blog told The Observer that although she has heard people call the project “attention-seeking” or “unnecessary,” she believes the blog strikes at the heart of issues of diversity of Notre Dame. The BSA is supporting this blog project via their listserv (BSA listserv email dated March 24), yet have reacted negatively to and are planning on demonstrating against Miss Coulter’s visit, which strikes at the core of Notre Dame itself: a conservative, Catholic university. The axe swings both ways.
SCOP, another club at the center of recent attacks, is being wrongfully persecuted for supporting something that the University’s Catholic identity already represents: the unitive and procreative nature of heterosexual marriage. This club has unfortunately been painted as a group of homophobes by outspoken liberal groups that favor the overtaking of the University’s Catholic identity in order to secularize it in favor of supporting gay marriage. Although I have no involvement with SCOP, I empathize with the wrongful outcry against this group for standing for unpopular conservative ideology. Those in favor of traditional marriage are not contributing to the devastation of gay persons’ dignity as suggested in numerous Observer Viewpoint articles and social media outcries.
Eventually, the liberal minority will have used all of its opportunities to reputably oppose actions and issues on campus; and they will have all been used unscrupulously in situations like these.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.