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SMC students discuss Keenan Revue

Megan O'Neil | Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Board of Governance members and Saint Mary’s students debated the College’s role in the Keenan Revue at Monday’s BOG meeting.

The Keenan Revue, an annual comedy show presented by Keenan Hall, has traditionally been held at Saint Mary’s O’Laughlin Auditorium and pokes fun at student life at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

BOG President Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl opened the meeting and explained that the forum was being held only to discuss opinions, not to cancel the show.

“The Revue will be on campus as scheduled,” Jablonski-Diehl said. “This is not a discussion about whether the Keenan Revue is held campus. It is a discussion about what the issues are.”

However, some board members said that the show as a whole Contradicts the College’s mission.

“Saint Mary’s is unique because it is Catholic,” alumnae commissioner Anna Bauer said. “I am a firm believer that everything that happens at this school should follow with the Catholic faith.”

Others said they felt the event had an overly negative perspective.

“I think it is the content of the Keenan Revue that is the problem,” said senior Emily Walsh. “The Keenan Revue is not the most positive thing to bring people to Saint Mary’s campus with.”

“It is the same mentality that kept women in the kitchens for all but the last 30 years, and slaves in the fields for hundreds of years,” senior class president Desiree Paulin said of the Revue’s comedic content.

Some members questioned whether comparable skits would be permitted on Notre Dame’s campus and whether a similar show produced by a group of Saint Mary’s students would be permitted to be held in a Notre Dame facility.

“If we went over there and held the same event, I think we would be held to an even higher standard.” sophomore class president Michelle Fitzgerald said.

Most participants, however, said that while some of the show’s jokes were in poor taste, they remain committed to having the show on campus each year. They would like to see it evolve into a more constructive examination of the issues it addresses, though.

“I think we need to look at the Keenan Revue for what it is – a social commentary,” said public relations commissioner Stephanie Patka.

She added that the show reflects upon the conceptions within the college community of South Bend, and without concerted efforts on all sides those conceptions will be perpetuated, whether or not they are acted out on stage.

Marissa Kirkman said she supports the Keenan Revue and that the audience should not take the show’s content so seriously.

“If you are that opposed you don’t have to go,” Kirkman said. “I think it is something that should be on our campus because it brings all the campuses together.”

Others said that while the Keenan Revue remains on Saint Mary’s campus, the school could exert some control over the skits and jokes. A Saint Mary’s board reviewed the show before its first production in the past several years. If held at an off-campus venue however, the College could exert no such influence.

Student government officers said they intend to continue to assess student opinion on the Keenan Revue, and share the College’s concerns in a meeting with the production managers before the show in January.