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Offering a welcoming home for all

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, November 8, 2007

Recently, a group of male students were seen on campus wearing T-shirts proclaiming, “Gay? Go to Hell.” In her Letter to Editor (“No right to judge gay students,” Nov. 5), Cinthya Mabee calls on the Notre Dame family to exercise good-will towards fellow students and refrain from using harsh and painful words to condemn the gay community on campus.

In her discussion with the men wearing the shirts, Mabee reports that the men “didn’t want groups like the Core Council to be part of the organizations on this campus because they promoted intercourse between homosexuals.” This description of the Core Council is thoroughly false and completely misconstrued. According to our Statement of Purpose, the Core Council “acts as a resource to the Vice President for Student Affairs in identifying the ongoing needs of gay, lesbian and bisexual students, and assists in implementing campus-wide educational programming on gay and lesbian issues.” Through campus education programs (CommUnity and Network), community events such as a reception for First Year Students, the Green Room and Coffee at the Como, through sponsorship of National Coming Out Day and Solidarity Sunday, as well as collaborative programs like StaND Against Hate Week, the Core Council is actively engaged in engendering a more welcoming and inclusive environment on campus for gay, lesbian and bisexual students.

This mission, however, will never be successful without the support of the entire Notre Dame community, regardless of their sexual orientation. We applaud Mabee and others like her who are willing to stand up for the inclusion of all members of the Notre Dame family. As a university community we are called to support one another in mutual love and respect. It is not our place to judge others – sentiments echoed by the Vatican’s leading moral theologians. In a letter to the Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith boldly stated that “it is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action … The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law” (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986.) Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees also voiced its solidarity with the gay, lesbian and bisexual community on campus in the Spirit of Inclusion: We value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community. We condemn harassment of any kind, and University policies proscribe it. We consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.

Notre Dame has made considerable strides in supporting its gay, lesbian and bisexual community but we still have many challenges ahead of us in meeting the current needs of this diverse community. We invite all members of campus, especially our heterosexual allies (supporters), to join in the mission of the Core Council. There are many ways to be involved: By serving on the Council (we are currently accepting applications); supporting and attending programs sponsored by the Council and its coalition partners; or, most importantly, by being in solidarity with students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or same-sex-attracted in both word and deed in everyday life. We warmly welcome the support of our fellow students, professors, staff, administrators and alumni and challenge all members of the Notre Dame family to take an active role in ending discrimination and promoting understanding at Our Lady’s University.

Mel Bautista

Sr. Susan Dunn

Rev. Joseph Carey, CSC

Jennifer Mackay Gunn

Gary Hotze

Maureen Lafferty

Jacki Larson

Brad Mattan

Heather Rakoczy

Gina Torres

Grant Van Eaton

Eddie Velazquez III

Core Council

Nov. 8