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A call for true diversity

| Thursday, December 10, 2015

It is an event of extreme rarity that our organization offers a viewpoint as a collective. BridgeND is a transpartisan student group dedicated towards open forum debate and inclusiveness, and as such, it is almost always inappropriate and impossible for us to offer opinions in chorus. However, in order for our club to function as it does, and in order to promote diversity at Notre Dame, we require adherence to a singular standard: the absolute and unfettered right of our members to choose and voice the content of their own opinions. It was disheartening to learn that this standard of diversity, inclusiveness and respect has come under attack on campus.

Recently, a fellow member of the Notre Dame community, Lauren Hill, was removed from a student organization in which she served as secretary. The grounds for her dismissal? A viewpoint article she published in The Observer in which she gave her views on an event that was distinct from the activities of her student group. Members of the student organization condemned the opinions expressed in Hill’s article as running contrary to the values of the group, and so she was removed by a two-thirds majority vote of membership.

While we in no way question the student group’s unqualified authority to determine the rules for its membership, we question the wisdom of its practice and decry the example it sets for a university campus dedicated to intellectual inquiry.

First, note we write neither to discuss the merits of Hill’s arguments nor the counter-arguments levied in turn. The dialogues presented on both sides of the issue constitute a debate of immense importance, one which students of all backgrounds have an obligation as citizens to engage with. We encourage readers to search for the relevant viewpoint articles and form their own opinions regarding their respective validity. Such an undertaking is not, however, the subject of this article.

Nor ought the contents of this viewpoint be diluted to a judgment as to the appropriateness, neatness or eloquence of Hill’s editorial. These issues are inconsequential for us; the worthiness of individual opinions for discussion in the public forum cannot be constrained by some threshold of intellectual or moral soundness. To impose such a standard is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at regulation of unfavorable content.

Rather, we write to condemn in the strongest terms the notion that the proper means by which to combat speech with which one disagrees is to silence it. Such actions leave no room for growth by either party but instead result in the cultivation of suspicion, anger and even hatred. No standard of diversity can ever be promoted in this fashion. No lives, whether they belong to the majority or minority, can ever be protected in such a toxic environment.

One of the fundamental goals at the University of Notre Dame ought to be equipping our students to argue intelligently against opinions with which they disagree. With the culture currently being propagated, we instead have begun to ask ourselves, “Which views are unspeakable to begin with?” This is a dangerous and unacceptable precedent for a university dedicated to higher education.

Proponents of this culture dress their arguments in terms of “privilege,” “microaggressions,” and “trigger warnings.” Again, we do not write for the purpose of exploring the controversies surrounding these terms. Rather, we deny their unassailable veracity. In the words of Prof. John H. McWhorter, “this paradigm has no place in a university environment: It assumes a truth at the outset and allows no room for genuine exploration.” Issues of diversity are enormously complex and are worthy of discussion and debate. To say that those who fail to conform to this particular type of “PC” phraseology are simply bigoted is insincere and disenfranchises entire points of view from legitimate discourse. To coerce people with unpopular or minority opinions into silence is Orwellian and smothers diversity on campus.

BridgeND provides an unlimited forum to our members to discuss whatever views they hold and opens them to being challenged on those views. We pledge to never dismiss a member due to the content of his or her speech or opinions. We reject vehemently the notion that this puts minority students in any sort of danger whatsoever.

Our club is indeed safe. We are dedicated to civil discourse, and our officers retain the ability to regulate the time, manner and order of member speech. We will never tolerate abuse of any member towards another. Such things ought to go without saying on an American university campus. We are not, however, a “safe space.”

Students will find no refuge in our meetings from speech they might find offensive. Perhaps they may even perceive microaggressions of one form or another in the opinions of other members. We do not subject them to such realities to be cruel, callous or conformist, nor do we attempt to promote some pervasive majority oppression. Rather than erect such walls, our goal is to tear them down by revealing the innumerable similarities that students of all political persuasions have with one another. We exist under the sincerest belief that hatred and prejudice are realities perpetuated by ignorance of and in isolation from one’s neighbor. The only remedy we are aware of to such division is complete exposure to the opinions of others. Providing this medium is, in large part, the mission of our organization.

We hope that one day all students on our campus will be able to express the full nature of their views unafraid and without hesitation, but until then, we extend a warm and sincere invitation to Miss Hill, and others who have similarly felt discouraged to share their convictions, to bridgeND. We can promise you will be challenged but also that you will be welcomed. After all, it is a discourse that challenges the status quo which has always made our campus, and for that matter our country, a better and more free place to live.

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

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About BridgeND

BridgeND is a bipartisan student political organization that brings together Democrats, Republicans, and all those in between to discuss public policy issues of national importance. They meet Tuesday nights (starting Sept.8) from 8-9pm in the McNeil room of LaFortune. They can be reached at bridgend@nd.edu or by following them on Twitter @bridge_ND

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  • John Robin

    Much discussion about toleration of offensive speech comes down to an underlying question: Are there types of speech so objectionable that they merit suppression?

    The answer to this question depends on the context of the speech. On a street corner soapbox, or standing in line at the post office, you can argue, if you wish, that women or men- should be disenfranchised; or that same-sex marriage is a great thing; or that it’s not; that prostitution should or should not be legal; or that we should adopt a communist or monarchist form of government. Controversial speech in the public arena is rightly protected by the First Amendment.

    But at Christmas dinner at Mom’s house, one does not announce that Mom is a rotten cook without finding one’s opinion suppressed and deservedly punished by Dad and family. You don’t scream for fun, in a crowded shopping mall, that “he’s got a gun!”. You don’t visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, wearing a Brownshirt uniform, and shout that “Hitler should have finished the job!”. Such examples and others exhibit ill will, bad judgement, and even criminal behavior.

    Colleges and universities have a legitimate interest to promote intellectual growth, freedom of expression, and open debate of contrasting ideas. And they have an interest to ensure that this takes place in an peaceful atmosphere of respect, order, and safety. This means that controversial speech, which can potentially threaten the safety and reputation of individuals, carries a serious obligation for those who express it, and those who facilitate it. Such private institutions, as the above article affirms, have the right and duty to “regulate the time, manner and order of” speech, and to be “dedicated to civil discourse”.

    But the devil’s in the details. If that line is drawn to cautiously, the atmosphere becomes oppressive, intolerant, overly sensitive, and encourages members always to be on guard for the next offense or “micro-aggression”. But if the line is drawn not at all, or without any sense of historical context and societal standards, then do we really think we could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

    The question is not whether “free speech” needs to be regulated in some way. Everyone, I think, already knows the answer is “yes”, and this is affirmed by law. The real question is where to draw that line on the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College campuses. What forms of expression are to be judged unacceptable at those private institutions? It is unavoidable that the answer to this question must flow from the mission and values of each institution.

    • Mr. Pockets

      What sort of speech on campus do you think would cause a loss of safety? Can you think of an example?

      • John Robin

        Certainly. Suppose I’m a student at ND, and the Observer publishes my “Letter to the Editor” on some topic. Another outspoken student is deeply offended by my words, and begins an aggressive campaign of peer-to-peer criticism and letter writing which leads to a widespread negative reaction toward me on campus. I’m ostracized by students; my position is criticized indirectly but pointedly in the classroom by certain members of faculty; I’m kicked out of my office in a campus club after it denounces my letter. I find graffiti on the door to my dorm, and a few days later my dorm is broken into; my car is vandalized. I fear for my safety.

        Is this scenario unprecedented or implausible on a college campus?

        • Mr. Pockets

          Are you trying to equate criticism of another person’s ideas to speech that makes someone unsafe?

          First, you are not entitled to everyone agreeing with you. If faculty and students ostracize you for an opinion you hold because they disagree, that is their prerogative. Surely you wouldn’t suggest that you would be in the wrong should you choose not to associate with an unapologetic neo-nazi, so why should anyone else be held to a different standard?

          Second, the graffiti and break-in examples are clearly illegal, but to imply that your hypothetical critic is in any way culpable for their actions is a pretty broad standard of guilt.

          Your scenario is not implausible, but I disagree completely that any of it constitutes speech that makes you unsafe.

          • John Robin

            Mr. Pockets, no, I’m not saying that criticizing ideas in itself makes people unsafe. In fact failing to criticize bad ideas may allow them to foster violent actions. And of course I don’t think I’m entitled “to everyone agreeing with [me]”. Why would you say that? But this line of discussion seems off topic so I’ll drop it, and try to get back to the key issue.

            My response to the original letter tried to make two simple points:

            1) Speech in a civil society needs to be “free”, but it can not be absolutely unrestrained, even where the First Amendment is deeply respected. Speech that is libelous, defamatory, or otherwise dangerous to the peace is not necessarily protected by law;

            2) Private institutions need to refer to their mission and values in determining how to regulate speech among their own members or on their own property. Wisdom is needed so that free expression and dialogue are given the widest possible latitude without violating other key values of the institution. For example, a synagogue may legitimately refuse to host a neo-Nazi gathering, or a Catholic college may refuse to host a parade that promotes Planned Parenthood without reference to the 300,000 babies it killed last year.

            You seem repeatedly to question the idea that it may be appropriate to restrict some forms of speech or expression on private property. But at least three times now I’ve invited and challenged you to answer whether you would permit the KKK to demonstrate on your own front lawn. And until now you’ve not answered. Why?

          • Mr. Pockets

            A few things

            1.) I don’t disagree with either of those two points
            2.) I asked for an example of speech that would lead to an unsafe environment. You cited a hypothetical where a student posts an article, someone publicly disagrees and the original author is ostracized by students and staff for his views. I assumed that this was part of the unsafe environment example, and I thus argued that comparing speech creating public disagreement with speech creating an unsafe environment. You’ve clarified that you also don’t agree with that comparison, so we’re in agreement here, but I hope the source of my misunderstanding is understood.
            3.) As to the KKK demonstration hypothetical, I would probably ask that they not, but I’d be offer to help them organize a public forum to debate/defend their views if they were interested. Sorry for not responding sooner, it was very thought provoking and I wanted to put a corresponding amount of time into my answer.

          • John Robin

            Mr. Pockets, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and candor. It sounds like we agree that in some extreme cases it is appropriate to curtail certain types of speech or demonstration.

            I too probably (definitely) would not allow a KKK rally on my property. Hypothetically, they may respond that they perform various charitable works worth supporting. But for me, their murderous history would make a KKK rally on my front lawn a non-starter. I would not want myself, my family, or my property, associated in any way with supporting -or even giving the appearance of support- to such an organization; with the caveat that I certainly support their constitutional right to demonstrate publicly.

            The KKK can publicly rally and recruit elsewhere. But their right to publicly demonstrate does not override my right to deny use of my property for the promotion of evil. Not at my home. And not at any church, school, or club which I attend or support.

            And that goes for Planned Parenthood, too.

          • Mr. Pockets

            There’s also the considerable possibility that my banning of the KKK from my lawn is just hypocritical to the points I’ve made about free speech. While I don’t want to associate with the group, my preferences are really not relevant to whether or not restricting their ability to demonstrate is appropriate.

            Now it’s my turn:
            We’ve kind of steered WAAAAAAY off-topic from my original question. You cited that certain speech on campus creates a loss of safety. I rather disagreed with the article example you provided and you haven’t really addressed any of the points I brought up either. Additionally, me not wanting the KKK demonstrating on my front lawn is an issue of preference, not of safety, so that doesn’t work either.

          • John Robin

            Fair enough. But my earlier reference to “safety” was only an example of one reason why an institution may wish to regulate or restrict expression. I offered a hypothetical example of someone deliberately fostering a hostile atmosphere which turned violent. Does the protagonist share blame for the violence? I think that depends on his words and actions. If his message was “So-and-so is a filthy bigot and deserves whatever’s coming to him”, he perhaps could be legally liable.

            But I didn’t mean to imply that “safety” is the only issue or the key one. I’ve argued that there may be various good reasons why an institution may choose to exercise its legal right to restrict certain groups or types of speech on its property. You raised the question of whether doing so is “appropriate”, but that simply restates the question. My answer is again, Yes, because an institution has the right to pursue its mission and control how its assets are used. And if it feels that its mission is best served by blocking demonstrations that promote the KKK or Planned Parenthood on its property, then it is well within its rights to do so. Whether in fact its mission is best served by that decision is another question, which I think is what you have challenged.

            Regarding the “KKK on your front yard” example, I think your preferences are perfectly relevant to how you use your own property. Your preferences undoubtedly reflect your beliefs, ethics, aspirations, aversions, and goals. If you refuse the KKK, some may criticize you for “censoring free speech”. If you allow the KKK, others may criticize you for supporting a disgusting ideology. Your decision will send a message far and wide about what you believe and what your values are.

            When Saint Mary’s College recently permitted an on-campus demonstration celebrating Planned Parenthood -an uncritical propaganda campaign devoid of any reference to its systematic killing of the unborn- that sent a strong message which called into question the values of the institution. This scandal has not been adequately addressed, and it reverberates still.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Comparing KKK with Planned Parenthood? That’s such a stupid comparison.

          • Mr. Pockets

            He’s referring to a different article about planned parenthood where we had used the KKK example to highlight how even if you support free speech you might still rather not allow certain groups to demonstrate on your property specifically

          • John Robin

            Well said, Mr. Pockets. That was a very fair and evenhanded response.

          • John Robin

            João Pedro Santos, I don’t think you’re really following the discussion.

      • John Robin

        And I will offer you the same example I offered you several days ago, and which still begs an answer: Would you allow the KKK to conduct a recruiting rally on the front yard of your own home? As a tolerant and educated fellow with great respect for free expression, would you permit this? Or is their mission and message so odious to you that you would prohibit their trespassing on your property?

  • MG

    The concept of dialogue rather than dictatorship is too often missing on college campuses as well as in other venues. The fundamental rights of free speech and assembly are critical for the survival of our republic. If some of the speech is offensive then it should be countered with intelligent discourse. Simply forbidding certain speech (I’m not talking about shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater) threatens all speech. If any group has the power to forbid speech it finds offensive then that power becomes recognized as legitimate. It’s the power to suppress speech that should be a concern to everyone, not just the speech itself. If BridgeND provides a forum for free speech then I’m glad to hear that the organization exists.

    • disqus_YSjDcf5XLm

      @MG: Valid point. HOWEVER, I question the point regarding Ms. Hill’s case that you are trying to make with your comment. Freedom of speech was never suppressed in relation to Ms. Hill, unless you are talking about something else completely.

      HOWEVER, if you are talking in relation of Ms. Hill and DC, then you are sadly mistaken. Diversity Council did not in any way shape or form “forbid speech it finds offensive” if that is what you are implying.

      Let me ask a few questions. Humor me, if you would:

      1) Did you know that all DC meetings are open to the public?

      2) If yes, have you attended a DC meeting? If no, then you probably don’t know what happened and have secondary sources, making you the tertiary source of discussion. I’d ask that you research more into the issue or request to met with the DC executive board for discussion —Yes, they do that. Just email and there’s your dialogue. Because, call me crazy, but it’ll probably be more fruitful for you when you go straight to the source.

      3) Did you know that diversity of opinion is literally DC? Hello, it’s composed up of 30+ organizations addressing diversity itself in race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. I don’t foresee a day where everyone would ever agree. If you’ve attended a meeting then you know that disagreements are common and there is open discussion followed by a vote. Dialogue is the lifeblood of DC and promoting understanding of differences, of diversity.

      4) Why not join DC for open dialogue, then? Challenge yourself in a diverse environment with people from different backgrounds.

      5) Did you ask yourself if BridgeND was a reliable source? Do we know if they attended DC meetings or even contacted DC before issuing their ViewPoint? If they did, then it’s interesting how that didn’t make it into their article. If not, then why are they jumping to conclusions and making assumptions?

      If BridgeND provides a forum for free speech, well, welcome to the rest of campus. I have yet to find an organization on campus that suppresses freedom of speech (ND would get sued) or prevents assembly (not a pertinent point to Ms. Hill’s case from what I can tell and ND would get sued). What I can say is that if that is the only draw BridgeND has to offer, and this article was supposed to impress me with their research skills, political finesse or wisdom, then they must be sorely disappointed. I am just another person who is NOT going to be joining.

      • MG

        I’m glad DC exists and glad BridgeND exists. Notre Dame is a welcome island of sanity in a sea of challenges to free speech. I’m an alum, not a current student. I have no dog in this fight except to be proud of the atmosphere at ND, one of respect and the willingness to abide different viewpoints.

      • MC

        Why would ND get sued? The first amendment does not carry over onto campus. They seemed to be addressing the philosophical and moral implications of the action here more than the legal ones

  • Rachel W.

    First of all, I don’t know who tasked BridgeND with setting the “standard of diversity, inclusiveness and respect” on campus. It certainly was not those most affected by these issues. Secondly, they were soooo mad about this that they had to write an article about how “no lives” will be protected in such a “toxic environment” but have never been mad enough to write an Observer piece about the toxic environment for minority students around the country, nor have they written a Viewpoint about the lives lost every day due to the racial discrimination that Diversity Council works to end. In fact, they hosted a panel on immigration that included no students of color. How do you talk about issues affecting students of color with none represented? Lastly, to my knowledge, none of their members were at the DC meetings during which Lauren’s position on the board (the only thing that was changed; she has not been banned from the council, as all of our meetings are and will remain open) was discussed. And if they were, they were not vocal on behalf of their organization in these meetings. With that in mind, this article was simply advertising for their club at the expense of another organization’s proceedings. Smh.

    • MC

      I don’t know about anything else in this, but I was part of one of the clubs that co-sponsored the immigration panel and we worked closely with SCIA and they said they would rather give the closing remarks than be on the panel. The closing remarks were given by a latino speaker and the rest of the panel was chosen by the clubs they represented. It was a policy debate and questions were audience guided. We heard good reviews from latinos and SCIA was happy so I don’t see the problem.

      • disqus_YSjDcf5XLm

        I am glad to hear that you feel this way, and I would like to say that there are probably other people who feel the way you do. Yet, I’d also like to say other people took it differently.

        I personally wouldn’t blame the second group because in all appearances BridgeND the immigration panel seemed to lack diversity, which should be something to consider next time on a PR standpoint. Hopefully, BridgeND and other groups can take this as a learning point.

    • Libertad H.

      Hi, well, I am actually a part of BridgeND, SCIA and Diversity Council and I was, in fact, there for both of the meetings that dealt with this decision. I also am very interested in what DV does and completely support all efforts to fight racism and prejudice because I am, in fact, among “those who are most affected” by those issues. I will always disagree with anyone who tries to discredit us or the importance of our cause and I know for a fact that indifference is a huge problem. That said, as a “person who has been most affected by these issues,” I pretty much completely condone and support BridgeND, as well. It’s true: no one asked the founders of BridgeND to go out of their way to start an organization that would foster fair, respectful dialogue between people, no matter what their opinion is. No one asked them to create an alternative to settling for the polarization that prevails in politics everywhere else. No one asked them to do it, but they still took it upon themselves to create a place of respect, that inclusivity and that fairness. To be honest, it is pretty much unprecedented here on campus, just like DV was at its start, I imagine. And I honestly do not see anything wrong with that, just as I do not see anything wrong with DV existing to do the same thing. To address another concern you had: the only reason why I did not speak on behalf of BridgeND (apart form the fact that, as far as I hear, no one ever explicitly stated that they were speaking on “behalf” of some stance that their entire respective organization had taken on the matter) is because I am technically SCIA’s rep and there isn’t even a BridgeND rep position in DV that I know of. (Which is actually something that maybe we should change in the future.) That said, I did speak up – as did a few others- with a dissenting opinion to the majority, and in all honesty, I as much as I wish it weren’t true, those two meetings were not an environment where a calm, inclusive debate could be had. Even Ms. Iris and the guy who spoke at the end of the second meeting (I am sorry, I did not catch his name) pointed out that there were some procedural mistakes made, to say the least. Please don’t think I am being callous- it is just an honest observation. As for BridgeND not having written a Viewpoint about racial discrimination… well, BridgeND has been dealing with the concept of Income Inequality for most of this past semester, interrupting that dialogue only when the occurrence of major world events called for it. It isn’t to say that in doing so, BridgeND was discrediting the importance of racism. It was just focused on something else (which is also a legitimate cause and concern) because that was sort of the agreed-upon schedule for the semester. That said, if enough members of BridgeND came forward and wished to discuss and focus on racial issues more, I know for a fact that they would be well-received. And, because I can tell that this is a subject that is as important to you as it is to me, then I invite you to join BridgeND. I am not advertising- I joined both at nearly the same time because they align with my values, hopes, goals and the means by which I believe the most good can be done. I feel like it makes perfect sense that member of DV form part of BrigeND, also. After all, both are composed of a vast array of people with different backgrounds an opinions working together to promote some kind of equality, overall good and truth. I also think that, as a group so diverse that the emergence of another situation similar to the one we dealt with in DV is almost guaranteed to happen, DV members should observe the way in which BridgeND deals with radically different opinions. I truly believe in the goals that DV wants to achieve and want nothing more than for us to be able to fulfill them. I don’t want observations like these to have to be made, because I feel that that is ultimately detrimental to the overall good that we are trying to achieve. There is a need for Diversity Council on this campus, and that is why I think it is crucial that we always remain inclusive and understanding.

      • disqus_YSjDcf5XLm

        Rather surprised why IF you were on Diversity Council, you’d CONSISTENTLY misappropriately abbreviate it to DV instead of DC. Just saying.

        This seems pretty contrived. Granted I do not know you, and you could be completely telling the truth, but you could also be completely lying. Unfortunately, that is the nature of these comments.

        Either way, I’m glad you feel fulfilled in both groups and find that there is a need for DC on campus and embody the messages of being inclusive and understanding that DC represents.


        1) Does BridgeND want to join DC? If that is the case that you are making, I’d be intrigued to know what specific points it would be addressing as a part of DC. Current DC representatives are tied closely to cultural clubs or student organizations with high percentages of minorities that are otherwise underrepresented on the ND campus so their goals are aligned directly to promote those groups on campus. Going straight to the point: Who will/does BridgeND represent?

        2) It’s interesting how BridgeND doesn’t have time issue a ViewPoint on diversity on campus, but it does have time to immediately jump into choppy waters regarding a very muddled issue of Ms. Hill’s resignation with, what I strongly to believe to be, incomplete information and context.

        • Libertad H.

          Yeah, to be honest that was just me having a really salty moment! Nice catch! Sorry, I guess I was so focused on typing out my message that basic things eluded me, haha.

          And yeah, you’re right- at this point you don’t know who I am and I could be lying for al you know. But I assure you that I am not, and if you would like to talk about it in person, I will be the girl who says “here” when SCIA is called during roll-call in our next meeting. So feel free to speak to me!

          As for your points:

          1) I do not know, I guess I would have to ask. I just think it would be beneficial for both, personally. But yeah, given that the nature of BridgeND is that of a club that really cannot have a set stance on many things because its members all have different opinions, I believe that it would not be able to operate traditionally in DC (finally got it right! ha) by way of offering its own culturally-themed/specific events. Off the top of my head, however, I imagine that it would be able to co-op with DC by way of helping to co-sponsor events that promote dialogues/debates on issues that concern DC. For example: next semester BridgeND will be focusing on Education as its main issue. I find it pretty conceivable that, if enough cooperation between the two organizations happened, events could be planned to discuss the specific ways in which Education issues affect minorities. Like I said, BridgeND will not shoot anyone’s opinion down, and, though unable to take a stance as a club, it would undoubtedly facilitate the dialogue. At the very least, it would discuss issues brought up during DC during its own meetings because there would be increased overlap in both groups’ membership. Basically, if there has been a lack of minority-specific discussion in BridgeND it is party because they have a set schedule of sorts, and partly because people have not brought it up in the meetings. Which isn’t wrong, but, thanks to the nature of BridgeND, could be changed. And I know for a fact that BridgeND would like to increase the number of committed members it has because that makes for more constructive discussions. So again, it is an open invitation! The only stance that BridgeND has is its value of fair and inclusive debate. Beyond that, the way the issues are discussed depend solely on the members.

          2) Well, again, that is because BridgeND has been focusing on other things this semester. All that it is doing in this article is defending the ONLY stance that it can actually claim (again, because of the diversity of opinion within its members and all) which is the belief that all opinions should be respected and proper, inclusive debate. The article specifically avoids talking about the details of the situation because that is not what concerns BridgeND. It only talks about its disapproval of silencing opinions because that directly clashes with what they stand for. So, really, on those grounds (which are the only grounds it claims), BridgeND is not in choppy waters at all.

          Again, I am totally open to talking more about this in person if you would like!

        • Mr. Pockets

          General point of curiosity: A major goal of DC is to promote awareness, understanding and acceptance of all differences that make up the Notre Dame community. While I know that it’s the norm for involved clubs to be related to a minority group on campus, is it a requirement?

    • Mr. Pockets

      While I don’t agree with the self-promoting tone this article takes toward the end, it’s not really a fair criticism to use the number of viewpoint articles related to racial discrimination as a metric of an organization’s commitment to opposing racial discrimination. Diversity Council itself has only written one such article this semester, but I think we would both agree that that grossly under represents their commitment to the aforementioned cause. And if we’re prepared to recognize that DC’s commitment is far greater than their one editorial indicates, it’s not fair to selectively apply that standard to disqualify Bridge ND’s commitment.

  • disqus_YSjDcf5XLm

    Issues with this article:

    BridgeND drew a conclusion that was sadly resultant of a lack of knowledge of the context surrounding Hill’s resignation or of the discussion at all. It is incredibly disappointing and discrediting, in my opinion, when an organization fails to do enough research and then draws a hasty conclusion. Therefore, I would ask BridgeND to take time to reevaluate.

    1) I would wager that BridgeND has not been at DC’s meetings, esp. those that were immediately pertinent to Hill’s case. [Note: DC meetings are open to all members of the community to sit in and observe and voice their opinions.]

    2) Had BridgeND been at DC, then the argument of suppressing freedom of speech and disrespecting diversity of opinion would be moot. Have you met DC? Do you honestly think differences of opinion aren’t tolerated in a room with the most diverse students on campus in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, socioeconomic class, etc? FACT: DC members are constantly disagreeing with each other and are open to discussion.

    3) Some of the issues that BridgeND failed to note: a) Like the US political system, differences of opinion are respected in Congress. However, if the President of the United States were to go against the majority of the country’s wishes or what would be the best for the country, then impeachment seems proper. Serving as an executive member means championing the collective cause of your group, it means that your personal opinions should be put aside to perform the duty that you accepted of your own free volition. b) People in our ND community felt under attack as a result of Hill’s article. To them they did not feel comfortable and did not trust that Hill could continue to perform her duties and uphold their organization’s cause. The issue was not so much Hill having a difference in opinion, but rather, DC reps’ sense of betrayal of her to the cause and belief that she would not be able to perform her duties as an officer of the organization –specifically upholding that organization’s values.

    • MC

      If the President acted against the majority of the country’s wishes, he would not be impeached. You have to break the law to be impeached. Elected officials often act against majority opinion, and for good reason. Ever heard of a mobocracy? Read the federalist papers. The whole point of our democracy is to insulate elected officials from the public opinion between elections.

      • disqus_YSjDcf5XLm

        MC thank you for your correction. My specific line was “if the President of the United States were to go against the majority of the country’s wishes or what would be the best for the country, then impeachment seems proper.”

        HOWEVER, what I meant in terms of intent that were not fully conveyed was that (1) if we interpret the laws written down by the US government as an expression of the country’s public opinion (because of majority vote for legislation through elected officials), then should the president act against that, then impeachment is proper. It was a lack of clear communication on my part. However, I think we are both in agreement on the part about the president’s role.

        Other than that minutiae, are we in agreement with my other points?

        Reading this again, this article seems to read as BridgeND’s advertisement for BridgeND. It is not downright unethical but rather distasteful if that is the case. Capitalizing on the troubles of one group to further themselves along. Perhaps, I have just taken ethics class too much to heart.

        • MC

          I suppose, but it seems like presidential impeachment isn’t the best comparison. And I had no problem with the article. I thought it was thought provoking.

  • Mr. Pockets

    While I understand the main thrust of this argument, the last four paragraphs come off as more than a little self promotional.

  • João Pedro Santos

    So, according to BridgeND, “true diversity” consists in the diversity of opinions (whether they are hateful or not) and not in the diversity of genders, races, ethnicties, religions and sexual orientations? Right…

    • Mr. Pockets

      Technically, diversity of opinions is the diversity upon which all others are based. The whole concept (as I understood it) of pushing from greater minority representation in terms of socio-economic status, racial background, sexual orientation, etc was that people from these groups have different experiences and opinions that would not be represented in the community otherwise.

      I think it’s a losing argument to claim that diversity of opinion is not an important component of diversity, even if you disagree with BridgeND that this firing represented a blow to said diversity.