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viewpoint

Class speaks out against destructive speech

| Thursday, April 10, 2014

We are writing this letter as members of the College Seminar course Minority Experience in American Education in response to Mark Gianfalla’s recent email to College Republicans, dated Tuesday. We come from different racial, religious and political backgrounds and would like to respond to some of Mark’s previous writings. Specifically, we believe the recent email letter to the Notre Dame College Republicans contains hate speech. We want to emphasize that this addresses Mark’s email, and we do not believe his views are representative of all College Republicans, or the Republican Party in general. However, as the president of the club, his voice inevitably speaks for all the members and needs to be written with a level of respect and consideration for the individual dignity of each member of the Notre Dame community.
The email to the College Republicans referred to members of the NAACP and BSA as “racial rabble rousers” for their participation in the silent protest against Ann Coulter. It also stated the protest’s use of Ann Coulter quotes “will likely be doctored by some ‘reputable’ blog started by a welfare recipient in his step-mother’s basement who hasn’t seen the light of day since his trip to the 2008 polling station.” Both liberal and conservative sources consider Ann Coulter’s speech to be racist, demeaning and hateful. She targets African-Americans, non-Christians, liberals, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, immigrants and the poor. The e-mail also refers to the NDream event as an “illegal alien love fest,” words that are deeply hurtful.
As Notre Dame strives to foster a community of inclusion and diversity, the words in Mark’s email directly contradict the mission and goals of the University. There is a stark and dangerous difference between hate speech and stating one’s political opinion. Notre Dame’s Discriminatory Harassment Policy defines discriminatory harassment as, “Offensive, unwelcome conduct or language that is based on an individual’s race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status or sexual orientation, and that creates an offensive, demeaning, intimidating or hostile environment for that individual.” Discriminatory harassment is prohibited for all students, faculty and staff. Mark’s email to the College Republicans implicitly attacks African-Americans, Democrats, the poor and immigrants, among others. While civil discourse on politics is always encouraged at Notre Dame, this type of speech is malicious to both minorities on campus and the spirit of diversity and inclusion at Notre Dame. Hate speech has no place here. We hope Mark, as a representative of Notre Dame’s College Republicans, would have been more conscious of the direct impact his words have on the student body as a whole. Father Sorin founded Notre Dame as “one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.” We urge Mark to consider how he can do good in this Notre Dame community and in this country.

The 11 a.m. Minority Experience in American Education class :

Eric Anderson
junior
Katherine Benz
sophomore
Paul Black
junior
Jessica Davis
senior
Rose Doerfler
junior
John Fuller
junior
Claire Haney
sophomore
McKenzie Hightower
sophomore
Megan McCuen
sophomore
Matthew Munhall
sophomore
Lauren Pate
sophomore
Francesca Simon
sophomore
Katharine Taylor
sophomore
Eric Villalpando
sophomore
Seung Yoon
sophomore

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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