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The right conscience

Hien Luu | Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What comes to mind when you hear “HEI”? Most of us would either draw a blank or immediately think about liberals, radicals, or simply orange jumpsuits. This, however, is not a political, radical, or anti-Notre Dame matter; it is purely a matter of fighting an injustice that has manifested itself in our University’s endowment in a hotel company that stifles and abuses its workforce.

When a company is under fire for employing business techniques, which cut costs and increase profits, yet harm human beings, it becomes an issue of human rights. It is an issue that anyone with a heart should care about, one that is not exclusive to any kind of political, religious, or social affiliation. This February, after years of student campaigning, Brown University President Ruth Simmons announced that the University would stop investing in HEI hotels. Following close on its heels was the University of Pennsylvania, which after years of students pressuring the university to stop reinvestment, announced in March that it had no plans to make future investments in HEI-sponsored funds. As a Catholic university that seeks to “create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good” and one that embraces the call to defend human life and dignity, we should be protecting workers and their rights. We should be setting the example for other universities. In reality, we still have much progress to make but also a cause for hope, hope manifested by our predecessors.

Button-Up Day, as part of National Week of Action, will be this Friday, April 8; all are encouraged to stop by Field House Mall between 2 and 6 PM to show support or learn more. This will be an opportunity to raise awareness, a celebration of the recent victories, and an encouragement for those who aim to achieve the same. The University of Notre Dame, not just as a Catholic community, but also as a humane community must join Brown and UPenn in this fight against human greed and the resulting maltreatment of workers. Our university has the right conscience; it simply has to act on it.

Hien Luu


Welsh Family Hall

Apr. 5