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viewpoint

Call for an end to laxity

| Tuesday, September 1, 2015

To say I am displeased would be an understatement, for which, my friends will tell you, I am well known.

The sexual assault of the daughters of Notre Dame must end. Some have made much of the laxity of the enforcement of any sort of meaningful alcohol policy, and I am in hearty agreement with them; the culture of alcohol abuse is astonishingly destructive. I know. I was an RA for two years. I saw it.

But I’d like to take this a step further. The laxity with which we treat alcohol abuse as a community is part and parcel of our laxity toward the development of human character, what Fr. Moreau might have called the “education of the heart,” a phrase which is often reduced to merely teaching compassionate living. The virtues are much more than that, and Notre Dame has completely failed in teaching and guiding her students into a life of virtue.

Perhaps we can blame this on the culture in general. Virtue is not in vogue, and yet all around people are calling for a stop to the vice of sexual assault. The cognitive dissonance and “dissonance of the heart” is resounding. Notre Dame is, as an institution which claims a moral imperative and clear teaching, in a unique position to be consistent in its approach to sexual vice. It instead consistently lets down its members in an attempt to compete on a cultural standard not properly its own.

This competition of laxity, which inspires grade inflation, bloated admissions and the coverups of scandals, is rampant among the elite institutions of the United States. It is time to leave this competition. Call for an end to the laxity which pervades our intellectual development but most importantly our spiritual and moral development. Where is the strength of Fr. Ted Hesburgh who, facing a disruptive student protest, offered the students a choice: disperse, or risk expulsion.

We need to stand strong against this violence even if it means a worse academic reputation, even if it means we lose grant money, even if it means we do not continue expanding. Even if it means losing our Division I status.

What are we willing to sacrifice so that our sisters are no longer threatened?

Nathaniel Gotcher
class of 2014
Aug. 31

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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