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Leaving out SMC?

| Tuesday, March 3, 2015

We both remember exactly where and when we heard of Fr. Ted’s death. At one in the morning, I started scrolling through a flurry of tweets relating to his passing and then, 40 minutes later, I received a phone call from our photo editor asking if Saint Mary’s was holding any type of events in his honor. At 6 a.m. the next day, Monica saw a poetic post on Facebook about Fr. Ted’s death. This is all the information that we had got, Twitter and Facebook posts that barely gave details of what exactly had happened. Our yearning to find out more increased. But then and to this day, Saint Mary’s College has yet to formally notify the student body of this great man’s passing.

From day one of entering Saint Mary’s as a student, we are told that SMC Belles hold a special connection with the Notre Dame community. This connection can grow as Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students alike are allowed to participate in clubs and activities together. However, in light of the situation, Notre Dame has truly become just “the school across the street.”

As of right now, only 100 members of the SMC community are eligible to take part in the mourning of Fr. Ted’s death due to the fact that most memorial services are closed to the public and require tickets. As Monica and I scanned through the scheduling of events for this upcoming week, we quickly realized that we in fact could not take photos of most of these historical events. Each event placed a Notre Dame ID requirement at the end of their descriptions. Along with us as photojournalists, the rest of the SMC student body has formally been excluded from Fr. Ted’s memorial services with the exception of 100 tickets that were claimed in less than two and a half hours.

The tickets themselves were announced at 10:15 a.m., a time when most students were in class. Before this rushed email was sent out, most SMC students and staff assumed that access to this memorial event would be denied. This would be fine if events at Saint Mary’s were to happen for Fr. Ted, but alas, there has been no mention of such. No church services, no moments of silence, no banners, posters, flyers, not even a simple email stating, “Fr. Ted is dead.” It seems as though the news of this man’s passing went over the heads of the leadership of SMC.

Forget the competition and the nicknames; at times like these, the Holy Cross community needs to stand up in understanding of the justice Fr. Ted performed for the world. It is truly saddening to see for both Monica and I that if death cannot begin to bring this community together, it seems as if nothing will.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Monica Villagomez Mendez

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  • Concerned SMC

    Ladies, I appreciate your concern, but I can’t help but disagree with the sentiments you express in the article. Saying SMC students deserve tickets to an event that not even every Notre Dame student can get tickets to is not very practical, and I am a SMC student, before your righteous indignation kicks in. Fr. Ted, while a global influence, was Notre Dame’s president, not Saint Mary’s. Demanding that SMC students get access to tickets that are already limited to his own school’s student body is neither considerate, nor logical.

    Lets put this in perspective: say President Mooney were to pass away and the largest space on our campus (O’Laughlin) cannot fit every SMC student as we well know. So, tickets are given out to the event. Imagine how mad you would be (and rightfully so) if an ND student got a seat and you (as a SMC student) did not. That isnt right…because she is your president not theirs.

    Moving on, SMC didn’t cancel classes…but its not exactly news that if you wish to miss a class for a funeral or memorial service…you are free to do so. You may even go the extra length to secure an excused absence. However, as you pointed out, very few SMC students were able to attend…so why cancel class? Furthermore as you both correctly identified Fr. Ted’s lasting impact…his mission was EDUCATION, at all times, of body, mind and soul. So canceling classes is not necessarily the best way to honor the spirit with which he lived his life.

    In addition to your argument about class cancellation, it being their former President that passed away, of course ND should cancel class. Again, SMC’s president did not pass. As though they need another reason to justify class cancellation, the likes of Condoleezza Rice and numerous other political figures are in attendance, so security and campus mobility becomes a practical issue. You cant have crowds of thousands of students making their way to class and keep the area respectful and safe for the mourners. SMC was not part of that logistical necessity.

    Then lets move to your issue with the lack of administrative acknowledgement from SMC. Alright, there may be a point there, but consider this is not their narrative nor their story to tell. This is Notre Dame’s. Im sure a level of respect and not wanting to step on toes was taken into consideration rather than this being a grand and collective show of ignorance. Lastly, since you both seem to have recognized what Fr. Ted stood for, lets honor that. Turning this into a political show of self declared righteous indignation is unbecoming of the very love and respect he nurtured throughout his entire life. Maybe there should have been an email, but is that worth declaring that the schools are beyond hope of uniting (“it seems nothing will”)?

    In regards to your concern that no formal event on SMC’s campus has been planned in memoriam, it would be both disrespectful of Saint Mary’s and illogical to hold any events remotely near or around the time Notre Dame does. That would literally be dividing the campuses in the separate spheres of mourning. Give SMC some time to plan a memorial service after Notre Dame has held their formal events, remember Fr. Ted in the intentions at mass (which did happen so saying it was ignored is unfair), or even offer up a commemorative memorial on campus. Please consider that many of our administration knew Fr. Ted personally and are grieving the loss of a friend, not just a legend. Be respectful of that, and don’t condemn them for things they have yet to neglect, as again, they shouldn’t “compete” with ND for memorial times etc.

    Trust me, there will be plenty of times SMC is left out and those are the times where voices like this should be shared. This man worked tirelessly to unite the two campuses through a mutual love and understanding of their shared mission to deliver a quality education that enriched both mind and soul, isn’t it a shame that you use his death to say this community is divided beyond repair?

  • Smick with Concerns

    While Father Ted’s impact has a farther reach than just Notre Dame, I think it’s a bit over reaching to say that Saint Mary’s students should be given the same opportunities that Notre Dame students are. There are many issues that divide the two campuses, and frankly, articles like this don’t help. It makes Saint Mary’s students sound entitled. We are fortunate enough to be welcomed into the Notre Dame community, given that it is somewhat begrudgingly in certain cases, we should still be grateful. Yes, we are a part of the tri-campus community, but no we are not Notre Dame, and we will not be granted every privilege that those students are.

    That being said, how many tickets did Holy Cross get to the memorial?