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The problematic PSA

Tom Haight | Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I’ve got a beef with the Progressive Student Alliance and its propagandists. While normally they stay below my radar, their latest mouthpiece (BJ Strew) has really got my gander up by insulting me. I’ve listened to the PSA moan about the University’s abuse of campus workers for years now, but this is truly obscene. To claim that Notre Dame is an institution that puts profit above people is absolutely off base. Maybe I’m not as informed as they are, but I don’t recall ever hearing about the University paying out dividends. Or selling stock. Or offering lucrative retirement deals to its former Board of Directors and CEO.Maybe that’s because we don’t pay our board of directors so much as they pay the University through contributions. And as for Father Edward Malloy? First, I’m pretty sure that the assertion that he is paid 20 times the salary of campus workers (which would put him at close to a half-million annually) is hot air. I might not get out enough, because I’m still under the impression that Malloy lives in the smallest chambers occupied by a priest on campus. I guess it’s possible that the PSA has photos of him driving his new Porche to his off campus mansion, but somehow I doubt it.The Congregation of the Holy Cross is a world-wide congregation doing works of charity and supporting missions on six continents. Is the University trying to make money? Yes. Is it doing so at the expense of people? No. Take off your blinders, PSA.You’re probably wondering why I’m annoyed about all of this. It’s quite simple actually: I’m the son of some of those “disfranchised workers” they always tell you about. My parents combined income was barely above the “living wage” mark they claim is all-important for one parent to make. That’s a novel concept, isn’t it? That both parents have to work to make a “living wage?” Heaven forbid that those without college educations have to do the same. Before you start trying to tell me of my other advantages, take into account that the cost of living was the same where I grew up as it is here (trust me, I live off campus) and I went to public schools, yet somehow I’m here at Notre Dame, despite PSA’s refusal to admit it can happen.What really irks me about it is that when I come to Notre Dame, I have to listen to PSA tell me how it’s impossible for workers who make below a “living wage” or their children to ever amount to anything. It’s a lie. I’m living evidence, and I’m tired of hearing PSA tell me that people of my parents’ status need their help. We don’t. In closing, I’ll say that I’m glad that there are ignorant, starry-eyed idealists out there, because it makes me appreciate that I’m not one of them.