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viewpoint

The conversation that never stops

| Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Editor’s note: Prof. Tim O’Malley was quoted in this letter without permission. The views and attitudes stated below are not a reflection of O’Malley’s personal beliefs. 

The three sexual assaults on campus this weekend are big news. We need to offer up the lives of the survivors and perpetrators in unceasing prayer for healing. We need a conversation that never stops. But most importantly, we need a conversation that never stops short of real change.

As Prof. Tim O’Malley challengingly points out in his Facebook posts this weekend, “Intervention is great. But to be frank, it’s not enough. There are attitudes that have been cultivated relative to dating culture, sexual activity and partying that make intervention increasingly needed. Read ‘Premarital Sex in America.’” Thorough change, at this point, is not a carefully planned education on consent or even the institution of the nationally-acclaimed Green Dot program. Real and thorough change is a radical revolution in the heart of every student on this campus, a revolution that starts cultivating a culture of love, maturity and self-respect.

To continue quoting Prof. O’Malley: “Culture needs to change and it needs to change fast. There are lives being ruined. And the culture at Notre Dame, especially based on sociologically literature surrounding drinking, is fostering this… Cultural change begins through creation of sub-cultures, which provide a sense of what is possible. I also think the University may need to seriously study the elimination of campus parties. It would be unpopular. But the time may have come.”

That would be a revolution. No parties on campus. No alcohol on campus. It would be a revolution, or it might just end up with a revolt.

My own reaction to Prof. O’Malley’s challenge is that those sub-cultures are the key: sub-cultures cultivate us as athletes, academics, celebrators and ultimately as mature, loving adults. Shouldn’t that include a healthy culture of parties that teaches us to truly celebrate and to respect alcohol as a culinary gift from the ancestors of every culture?

Yet my heart stops at my own thoughts. Such sub-cultures take time to spread across campus. Can I, or any of us, look a survivor in the eyes and say, “Let’s change the culture, but not yet.”?

Kyle McCaffery
senior
Aug. 30

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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