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NAACP hosts talk on relationship issues

Dennis Slater | Monday, February 11, 2008

The North American Association of Colored Persons (NAACP) campus group invited students and faculty members to meet for a discussion on relationships over dinner Sunday evening in the South Dining Hall Hospitality Room.

The participants came to discuss careers, families and relationships between males and females as well as between people of the same sex, said Mallory Jacobs, the vice president of Notre Dame’s NAACP chapter.

“There is normally a retreat every two years,” Jacobs said. “But this year we wanted to do something for the students on a smaller scale.”

Students said the prospect of hearing a variety of viewpoints on gender relations piqued their curiosity.

“I came to this dinner because it seemed to be a very interesting topic I wanted to find out more about,” freshman Amanda Wilson said. “Gender relations at Notre Dame is a very interesting subject to students and that aspect of this event intrigued me.”

The intimate setting fostered close discussion about the relationships people encounter and how to deal with them. Conversations were not public, in order to encourage people to speak freely, but Jacobs said before the dinner the focus would be “to talk about how to balance working careers while maintaining relationships.”

Video clips from Tyler Perry’s movie “Why Did I Get Married” were shown to stimulate conversation about relationships involving communication and trust. The discussion was meant to be all-encompassing and covered not only heterosexual marriage but also homosexual relationships.

Faculty and staff members in attendance included assistant vice president in the Office of General Counsel Lois Jackson, assistant director at Mendoza College of Business Connie Porter, and director of the Educational Talent Search Warren Outlaw.

Each faculty member led a discussion where he or she offered insights about relationships during and after college by recounting personal experiences. Students had the opportunity to describe a few of their own experiences and receive feedback.

Several questions were posed as conversation starters, including “What does it mean to be happy?” and “What is love in a relationship and is it enough?”

“This event is important because relationships are something we all have in common,” freshman Isabel Chirase said. “We all deal with them during and after college and it is a common bond between all of our students.”