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

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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About Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • Peter Castle

    Ann Coulter has been pushing the envelope – actually, going over the edge – for more than a decade, and conservatives continue to shower her with praise. In reality, we should Never Trust Ann Coulter – at ANY Age, at http://www.coulterwatch.com/never.pdf.

  • Matt

    All too often, Republican leaders find themselves having shot themselves in the foot. Mark Gianfalla, come on up and claim your membership card.

  • NDaniels

    Perhaps Ms. Coulter has not set a good example and should not have been invited to speak at Our Lady’s University; this does not change the fact that to include sexual orientation as a desire/inclination to be condoned and protected, when it is a self-evident truth that not every desire/inclination is ordered to The Word of God, shows not only a lack of compassion but a lack of charity. Love is desiring Salvation for one’s beloved.

    “No one can come to My Father except through me.” – Jesus, The Christ, The Word of God Made Flesh.


    H/T Mirror of Justice

    • Patrick Guibert

      That has nothing to do with this article, dumbass.

    • Brock

      I do agree with your first point that Ms. Coulter has not set a good example, but I take issue with your second, especially since it seems a bit out of context as a response to this article. I will, however, endeavor to respond anyway. As a Christian, you are certainly free to believe whatever you may like about the origins of sexual orientation and the word of your god. You must remember, however, that your faith is not one that is shared by the entire population of the United States and thus, should not be used as the basis for public policy or legal recognition. Too often these days I hear religious rhetoric entering political discourse as a fundamental explanation for certain viewpoints and propositions, but until we as a country can form a unanimous opinion as to the nature of our origins and any existence of a higher being, that discussion has no place in a house of law and is, in fact, expressly forbidden by the Constitution. Again, I do not wish to attack your position because you are justified in your own beliefs but I wish to point out that, like homosexuality, the origins and reality of the Christian God have yet to be proven definitively so to suggest that one side in this argument is correct is to suggest that you are privy to knowledge that the rest of humanity does not yet have. Personally, I believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, but a genetically determine attribute of a person. Like you, I rely on what I’ve been taught and what I’ve discovered for myself to come to that conclusion, but I certainly don’t fault Christians who believe otherwise. When faced with uncertainty we side with those who align most with our viewpoint, but that does not condone the condemnation of the other side of the argument. Therefore, I beg of you to be compassionate towards others even if you don’t agree with their views. It could be that their interpretation of the word of God differs from yours. In reality, no one on this earth is capable of correctly interpreting the word of God. We can try our best but we must accept that we are fallible creatures capable of making mistakes. It may well be that you are correct in your argument but if you rush to judgement and end up being wrong in the end, just remember that the sinner casts the first stone.

      • NDaniels

        Brock, God did not order us to live our lives in relationship as objects of sexual desire/orientation, as that would be in direct violation of God’s Own Commandment regarding lust and the sin of adultery; regardless of ancestry, desire, or consent, we are, and have always been, from The Beginning, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers. Love is ordered to the personal and relational Dignity of the human person.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for doing your part in restoring my faith in the ND student community. As a minority alumni, I often question whether I would happily send my children to ND – both because I found my experience lesser than my white, male counterparts’ experiences when I attended ND (in the 2000’s) and because these racial tensions continue to fester on campus now (despite the many public efforts to tout ND as pro-diversity by the administration). I truly hope that these hateful words help spark some conversation and change at ND so that in the future, minority alumni will not fear sending their children to ND.