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Irish Inquisition debuts in SDH

Luke Busam | Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Irish Inqusition convened for its first session Wednesday night in the Oak Room and the “accused” were asked what they would do if they were president of the United States.

Student Body President Pat Hallahan said the inquisition was designed to bring members of the campus community together to share thoughts and laughs outside the classroom.

The grand inquisitor, graduate student Peter Wicks, and a three-person tribunal comprised of Notre Dame students Beth Duran, Joe Muto and Shawtina Ferguson passed judgment on each of the four “accused.”

The four participants, Executive Chef of Notre Dame Food Services Denis Ellis and professors Ted Warfield, Donald Kommers and Ani Aprahamian were each given ten minutes to answer the question, “What are the first things you would do as president of the United States?”

Ellis and Warfield were found innocent of heresy and given T-shirts that read, “I got off on a technicality at the Irish Inquisition,” while Kommers and Aprahamian were found guilty by the three-person tribunal and received “heretic” T-shirts proclaiming their condemnation.

Warfield spoke of his dream to gather Justice Department officials to discuss the ability of the president to declare anyone he wishes an enemy combatant of the United States and detain that person without trial or other legal proceedings.

Warfield also spoke of his desire to provide clean water, medicine and food to the ten million children who die of preventable diseases every year. Warfield believes that humanitarian organizations should be given “all the money they ask for to see if they can prevent these deaths.”

Ellis, an England native, pointed out the impossibility of his election, but spoke of a variety of options for his first act as president. He decided he would fulfill his desire to change the media’s portrayal of war. Ellis argued that war should no longer be portrayed as glamorous, but as the vulgar act that it truly is.

Following intermission, Aprahamian said that, if president, she would, “Treat the American people like they have brains, try to tell them the truth and tell the American people that we have been unjust in the past and maybe that is why people hate us.”

On a lighter note, Aprhamian said she desired to eradicate the world of minivans and make physics a requirement for high school graduation.

Kommers, who said he would propose four policy ideas to the nation if he were president. These would be a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to reverse Supreme Court decisions, a $5 per gallon gasoline tax to encourage the development of new transportation infrastructure, the bombing of all North Korean weapons factories and missile installations and the suspension of all funding to Israel until they dismantled all West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements.

Kommers recognized that any one of these “could lead to impeachment.”

Ed Cohen, who created the Irish Inquisition, said he was pleased and thought the event went well, though the does want to create more of a “fun, interactive, concise, and fast-moving experience.”

The second inquisition will take place in the Oak Room, but the date is still to be set.