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Ad misleads prospects

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, September 13, 2005

If I understand the objections to the “Candle” ad, one main problem is that the ad will mislead applying students into thinking that prayer is the key to admission at ND. Consequently, many highly-qualified, non-religious or minority students will not bother applying because they don’t want to light the many required candles.

Am I alone in thinking no one smart enough to get into Notre Dame could make that mistake? Would a clarifying ad really improve our image?

At halftime of the Michigan State game, the picture fades to black; then we see Father Jenkins on the steps of the Dome: “For those of you who dropped out of high school and cancelled your SATs in response to last week’s ad, we do want to stress that our Admissions Office cannot, technically, grant prayers. We apologize for the confusion. Go back to school and sign up for a varsity sport while you still can.”

The other problem is identified by the folks trotting out the tired claim that any ad that does not include such-and-such a group “excludes” or “discourages” them. This argument tells us more about the biases of the complainers than any in the ad.

How about another clarification? “For those of you who are of a race, class or religion not pictured in last week’s ad, and are also incapable of identifying with people not of your own race, class or religion, please substitute in your mind a picture of someone who is just like you, doing whatever it is you do, or, you can visit www.nd.edu, where you can download a copy of the ad specific to your precise demographic.” Do we want to attract the people in need of this clarification to Notre Dame? Shouldn’t we be concerned about how some of them already seem to have gotten in?

As for nice poor fellow John Kearney, and his theology classmates laughing at prayer, let those of us who pray, pray for his soul, because as Tennyson wrote, “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of …”

Christopher Reganalumnus Class of 1997Sept. 12