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Unjust punishment

Troy Suter | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Over the summer, while talking with a current student at Liberty University, I was appalled by the horror stories he told me about the oppression and lack of free speech on his campus. As he described the multiple fines he incurred for using even the most mundane of curse words, I found myself wondering why anyone would attend a school like that. After last week’s Miss ND competition and the ensuing consequences for one of the participants, I realized that we all attend a university very much “like” that.

For those who have never attended Miss ND, it is notorious for its irreverent humor and tongue-in-cheek sexism. But what was supposed to be a fun and unruly event turned into a self-expression nightmare. One contestant has been reported by a Notre Dame employee for sexual harassment in her jokes and is expected to receive extreme disciplinary action. If you ask people who went to the event what these charges are referring to, my guess is that they either wouldn’t remember or they would guess one of the numerous other sexual references that many of the contestants used.

Furthermore, at the similar Mr. ND competition, there were much more offensive jokes said on stage, but there was, rightfully, no disciplinary action taken. Singling out this one contestant for the relatively mild things she did while performing in a show is unfair and unacceptable. While I first and foremost sympathize with the contestant for this possibly life-altering accusation, I can’t help but to be outraged at the school employees for their response.

I understand that we attend a conservative institution. I knew that when I applied here. But this is so far beyond over-the-top that I am beginning to question Notre Dame’s concept of right and wrong.

If this report goes through, and this poor girl’s life is changed for making 199 people laugh and making one person mad, Notre Dame will start to seem to me like one of those weirdly strict schools instead of my home.

Troy Suter


O’Neill Hall

Nov. 14