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viewpoint

To the Trump supporters who paid me a visit

| Friday, February 3, 2017

Two days after the election, I was in my room in Keough Hall like any other night. Having finished a day of classes, I had returned to my dorm to relax and finish some homework before dinner. Half an hour went by and then I heard your shrieks. It startled me, but I assumed it was a practical joke of some kind until you began banging on my door. “Deplorables knocking at your door,” you roared. “Build the wall!” “Open up! It’s immigration services!” “Trump sent us to get you!” “We’re building a wall around your room!”

This went on for what felt like hours. With every jeer, I felt more isolated. With every chuckle that burst from your lips, I felt more humiliated. I was also shocked. This was not something I ever would have expected from students enrolled at Notre Dame.

Then one of you decided to open my door — to personally breach the safe space of my room. I sprang from my chair and bolted for the door, slamming it and locking it on motion. I now felt like a prisoner in my own room. My back against the door, I slunk to the floor and shouted, “Please! Just stop. Leave. … Just leave!”

The three of you only grew louder. You continued with your insults and after your amusement began to curtail, the three of you began to walk down the corridor.

Somehow I managed to stand back up. Whether it was the grace of the saints or just a spontaneous action, I summoned the fortitude to open the door, to see the individuals who found it so funny to demean and belittle a fellow student.

I looked down the hall to get a glimpse of who would do such a thing. As I yelled “Cowards!,” the three of you proceeded to sprint out of sight. I saw one of you holding a mask. Were the three of you wearing masks? Were you ashamed of what you were doing? It certainly didn’t seem that way.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a deeply religious person. I was so shocked with what had just happened that I began to pray. I finished the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” but before I could start the “Glory be,” you were back. “Trump 2016 baby!” Howling insults for a while longer, you scurried off again.

I was furious. I was saddened. A plethora of emotions filled me. My pounding heart only served to remind me of the sounds of your fists against my door.

I spent the next several minutes reliving this nightmare. I felt numb. The whole experience felt unreal, like something you see in a movie. Certainly, the insults you barked at my door offended me. But what pained me was that it sounded like you were having fun. What revolted me was that you went out of your way to find my room.

Thanks to you, I felt the need to move off-campus to stay with one of my best friends just to get a goodnight’s rest. At the same time, I still needed to keep up with my studies. I had classes to attend, essays to write, projects to complete. Yet, I could not focus. I could not summon the discipline and attention that I pride myself on.

As half-English and half-Mexican, I fondly refer to myself as Brit-Mex. I have always relished the beauty both cultures offer our world. I always thought, only in America could this happen, somewhere where cultures come together and construct a society based on the best of all the world’s cultures. And yet, you attempted to denigrate me for this, for my identity.

This is where your efforts failed. Though offended, I maintain pride in who I am. After sharing this experience with trusted professors, treasured friends, my supportive rector and RA, and above all my beloved mother, I not only mustered the courage to write to you, but also the strength to forgive you. I forgive you for your insults, your laughter, your jeers, the feelings of isolation and pain you caused me. I forgive you for everything. I pray for you.

I pray each of you can free yourselves of the malice and contempt you seem to feel. I even pray that you consider revealing yourselves and meeting me. As students of Notre Dame, I’d like to think that, deep down, you are better than what your behavior suggests.
To quote University President Fr. John Jenkins, “Either we walk together in mutual support, or we do not walk at all. Either we are all Notre Dame, or none of us are.”

Gregory Jenn 

junior

Feb. 2

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

Contact Letter
  • Shantha Ready Alonso

    I am so sorry this happened to you. I would never expect to hear of this type of behavior at ND. There has been a pattern of increased bullying across the country, and it is being documented. Please enourage everyone you know to #ReportHate, both to the police and to those who are tracking hate incidents, including the Southern Poverty Law center (https://www.splcenter.org/reporthate)
    and ProPublica, an investigative journalism site that is covering hate crimes – who commits them, where they happen, who should be addressing them. Please contact reporter A.C. Thompson at A.C.Thompson@propublica.org to #ReportHate

  • John

    I’m sorry this happened to you. But, at least in my experience during 9 semesters at Notre Dame, this is totally normal. The largely provincial, derogatory, and judgmental student body is seasoned in hypocrisy and stupidity. I’m not sure where comments like Shantha’s, when she writes, “I would never expect to hear of this type of behavior at ND,” come from. I’d expect nothing else.

    • psilocybe87

      too bad it didn’t happen and it’s clearly a bullshit made up story

      • John

        I see your incredulous (and sexist and logically fallacious, I might add) responses on others’ posts. Still, my experience – and Gregory’s and Jonestown’s – trumps your unfounded skepticism. Don’t believe it if you don’t want to. These stories happen every day at Notre Dame. It would take me days to list all instances I witnessed myself, let alone the many more I’ve heard from others.

        • psilocybe87

          To read this story and not see it’s CLEARLY fantasy you’d have to have a double digit IQ. I get it though. Play dumb because it plays to your politics. lol

    • MC

      I have never seen nor expected this kind of behavior at ND after 3 and half years here. Stop painting it like this is commonplace.

  • disqus_vWBSNnnijZ

    Thank you so much for having the courage to write this letter. The fact you found it in your heart to forgive them is admirable.

  • Alison Kelly

    Gregory, your strength and faith are inspiring to us all. You are not alone in this struggle; I stand with you and many other current students and alumni/ae do as well. I also suffered violence within my residence hall at Notre Dame as a freshman, and you have my sympathy for that breach of your sacred space. I will pray for you and the student body to overcome this trying time.

    • psilocybe87

      found the dumb blonde who believes this obvious work of fiction.

      • disqus_PBnOP0sXke

        I’m reporting your comments.

        • psilocybe87

          u wouldnt dare coward

  • Quote Investments LTD.

    Why cant we all bumb bad and boujie and get along ?

  • Jonestown

    I would expect this at Notre Dame. There were some very proud anti-semites in my dorm (Stanford) that would chant America! America! America! followed by proclamations of their distrust for Jews that remind me of the experience that the author of this article unfortunately had to go through. Notre Dame has been long been a stronghold of closedmindedness and opposition to minorities.

  • JD

    What sickens me most about this letter is how many others stood up and confirmed that it isn’t surprising to them at all. The fact that this happened in the first place is awful enough, but I would hope that garbage behavior like this would be an outlier at Our Lady’s University. I see my hopes are in vain.

    We have a lot of work to do, Irish.

    • psilocybe87

      it clearly didn’t happen, If you can’t tell it’s bullshit u lack intelligence.

  • Carmela Kinslow

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. I can only hope that they come forward and apologize. This type of behavior is not acceptable anywhere. But I am afraid that they won’t and this behavior will only increase in the days ahead of us. Civility and tolerance died over 8 years ago. God bless and protect you and keep you strong in your convictions. This is America and people have died for this right.

  • Patrick Hughes

    I dont believe a word of this.

    • i_enjoy_tacos

      Why not?

      • Patrick Hughes

        It a fantasy. Obviously and totally made up.

        • OGSwaggerDick

          Yeah you right. Totally just there to spread anti-Trump rhetoric. I mean how could this happen at a traditionally conservative school? The only proof I need is in my head. WAKE UP PEOPLE GEORGE SOROS IS FUNDING THIS!!!
          #InvesitagePizzaGate

        • i_enjoy_tacos

          “Obviously”? How so?

      • psilocybe87

        can u really not tell it’s made up? so obvious.

    • disqus_PBnOP0sXke

      I bet you prefer alternative facts.

  • psilocybe87

    this story is pure bullshit. Anyone who believes this is stupid.

    • disqus_PBnOP0sXke

      Looks like the only thing you’re able to do is to insult others. You must be a really sad person.

      • psilocybe87

        because a 12 year old could tell the story isn’t true. All the people in here know that but choose to passive aggressively pretend it’s true because of their political beliefs. weak.

  • Stephanie McGuire
  • Carlos E Bauza

    Hiding the identity with masks, and menacing a targeted person is a tactic used by organized abusers who knowingly tread close to violence. This is just a glimpse of the immoral íntolerance and bigotry that afflicts the U.S.A. for centuries.

  • Donald F Wolfe III

    This is disturbing on several levels: 1. Where are the victim’s neighbors? During my time in Dillon Hall in 2001, I heard some students name-call my Miami buddy using racist remarks and I jumped out of my room and had to be dragged off one of the kids. 2. The victim needs to toughen up. This type of sickening behavior happens all the time and he’s not going to survive in this lifetime if such name-calling and clown behavior is going to make him feel like a rape victim. I realize that may sound insensitive but c’mon kid, time to grow some thick skin and not let these cowards offend you.