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Sorin announces they will boycott pep rallies

Irena Zajickova | Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Notre Dame fans present at last Friday’s pep rally in the Joyce Athletic Convocation Center (JACC) may have noticed only five of the six host dorms in attendance. The sixth dorm asked to host, the Sorin Otters, decided to boycott the pep rally.

Juniors Aidan McKiernan and Tristan Hunt, the president and vice president of Sorin Hall announced they would boycott the ceremony in a letter to the editor of The Observer Friday. They said their intention is not to publicly refuse to show their support for the football team. Rather, they wish to bring about a change in the current pep rally protocol.

“We know this school supports the team,” Hunt said. “But we don’t think that they should have to put up with an hour of organized entertainment to do it.”

McKiernan and Hunt said pep rallies have stopped being purely for the students and have taken on a more corporate, formulaic atmosphere in an attempt to appeal to alumni and visitors. Previously, the pep rallies were held in the Stepan Center and featured more interaction between the students and the football team.

“The first hour and fifteen minutes is what we’re against,” McKiernan said, referring to the time students spend watching videos and campus group performances while waiting for the team to arrive.

McKiernan and Hunt’s said the pep rally should be oriented towards strengthening the bond between the students and the football team. They said they want more speakers from the football team itself and less downtime spent waiting for the team to actually arrive at the Joyce Center.

“We only have four years here,” Hunt said. “They should be really special and unique. Pep rallies that really feel like our own are a big part of that.”

After the San Diego State pep rally, McKiernan and Hunt said they began talking to underclassmen in their dorm to gauge what they thought about the pep rallies.

“We wanted to make sure the freshmen supported us,” Hunt said. “Since they had only been to one or two pep rallies, we didn’t want to come across as forcing our opinions on them.”

Their views received strong support both among the freshmen and at Sorin Hall Council, and the men of Sorin decided they would no longer attend the pep rallies as a dorm.

“Things really came to a head before the Stanford game,” Hunt said. “Since we were asked to host, we had to decide if we would go or not.”

Instead of entering the JACC, the Otters gathered outside dressed as lumberjacks, symbolizing the “cutting down” the Stanford’s tree mascot, to cheer on the team as they entered the building.

“If you want to say we have no spirit, that’s absurd,” McKiernan said.

McKiernan and Hunt have discussed the boycott with leaders from other dorms and the response has been fairly positive.

“They like the motivation behind it,” Hunt said. “But aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger.”

McKiernan said Sorin’s students aren’t the only students choosing to miss pep rallies, and many stopped attending long before Sorin’s boycott.

“What we’re doing just gives a voice to why people aren’t showing up in the first place,” he said.