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Cancellation provokes debate

Megan O'Neil and Kelly Meehan | Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Reasons for the elimination of Saint Mary’s Pride Week and the introduction of Heritage Week were discussed and clarified among student government officers at Monday’s Board of Governance meeting.

Some board members said they were unaware the weeklong celebration had been canceled and expressed concern about lack of notification about the decision.

“I didn’t know about it and I don’t know if anyone else knew about it,” senior class president Lauren Condon said. “It seemed to just come out of nowhere.”

Neither student government nor the College administration made an official announcement regarding the cancellation of the event.

It was only through an Observer article, Condon said, that she and many members of the student body learned it would not be taking place.

Director of Student Activities George Rosenbush said Pride Week had been under review for two or three years and said she was ultimately responsible for the decision. The loss of the original purpose of Pride Week – to generate excitement about the College – as well as poor event attendance were the main reasons for its termination, Rosenbush said.

“If I asked you what [were] the events of Pride Week last year you couldn’t tell me squat,” Rosenbush said. “You’d tell me the pep rally.”

She cited high expenses that strained the student government budget as an additional reason.

“We can’t continue to throw $5,000 at that thing when we have the [College] Readership Program [to pay for],” Rosenbush said.

In a post-meeting clarification, Rosenbush said she informed student body president Kellye Mitros that Pride Week would not be taking place in a meeting last spring. The Pride Week T-shirt, a point of controversy during last year’s event, was discussed, but Rosenbush said it was not an ultimate factor in the decision.

“I would not cancel a weeklong event because people are upset over a T-shirt,” Rosenbush said.

When asked about statements made by Mitros and vice president Susan McIlduff to The Observer last week citing last year’s uproar as a factor in the decision, Rosenbush said the T-shirt issue negatively impacted the already struggling Pride Week.

“That is what they thought in their minds, they’re correct because that is what they thought it to be,” Rosenbush said. “Those were their thoughts. When they thought of Pride Week, they thought of the shirt.”

Mitros and student body vice president Susan McIlduff stood by their previous statements. Nevertheless, they said they believe Heritage Week, an idea they originally proposed while campaigning, will prove to be a refreshing and more successful event.

Another point brought up during the discussion at Monday’s meeting over the cancellation of Pride Week was whether or not Saint Mary’s would host a Notre Dame pep rally this semester, traditionally at the culmination of the week.

Student Activities Board president Megan Cahill said as of Monday the College was not scheduled to host a pep rally as it has done in past years, but said this was unrelated to the elimination of Pride Week.

A change of football coaches has resulted in a change of format for the pep rallies, Cahill said, and she was unable to establish a date last spring as she had hoped.

“In the past with that Student Activities at Notre Dame was totally in charge of the pep rally, but I think we have all seen how the pep rallies have changed,” she said.

Cahill said she will make an announcement if a change occurs.

In other BOG news:

uThe sophomore class is hosting a Salsa night complete with dance instruction 8 p.m. Thursday in Haggard Parlor. Admission is $1.

uFort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy will celebrate Mass at Saint Mary’s at 9 p.m. Sunday in Regina Chapel. The Mass is sponsored by the senior class and an informal discussion will follow.

uCollege President Carol Mooney will meet students in an informal gathering on Nov. 20 in Holy Cross Hall. The time will be announced closer to the event.