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Group to premiere advocacy video

Tori Roeck | Monday, February 27, 2012


The 4 to 5 Movement will premier a new video tonight called “It Needs to Get Better,” which gives suggestions for creating an environment of inclusion on campus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students.

The video is based on the “It Gets Better Project,” a campaign to prevent suicide in LGBTQ youth. The campaign’s website, itgetsbetter.org, provides personal videos to prove life will get better for them after high school, said sophomore Dani Gies, a member of the 4 to 5 Movement who appears in the video.

Gies said the goal of the 4 to 5 movement, which is a Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) initiative, is to encourage the University to make greater strides toward inclusion. 

“We feel that part of our Catholic identity is to create a welcoming and warm environment for all members of the community,” Gies said. 

Senior Jackie Emmanuel, co-president of the PSA, said college life can be just as difficult as high school for some LGBTQ students.

“Sometimes even college atmospheres don’t have structures in place to protect LGBT students in the ways that they need to,” Emmanuel said. 

Gies said the 4 to 5 Movement’s video features many different members of the Notre Dame community, each of them explaining ways in which the University can change to promote inclusion. 

“[The video is] addressing the University at large, telling them what the current campus atmosphere is, what the current campus policy is, and how that policy needs to change in particular ways in order for certain groups to actually feel like they’re a part of Notre Dame,” Emmanuel said. 

The video advocates for a gay-straight alliance on campus and an amendment to the non-discrimination clause to protect LGBTQ students and faculty, Emmanuel said.

Student Senate recently passed resolutions in favor of both additions, and Emmanuel said she hopes the video will alert the administration of student support for these measures.

“We’re hoping that [the video] will support Student Senate’s resolutions … and then hopefully it will inspire the rest of campus to follow suit,” she said. 

Undergraduate students, law students, faculty and staff appear in the video, Gies said. 

Emmanuel, professors Peter Holland and Pamela Wojcik of the Film, Television and Theatre Department, law student Steve Baugh, and sophomore Alex Coccia, also co-president of PSA, are included. 

“All of them volunteered to be a part of the video because they felt that putting a face to what we were saying was really important and all of them wanted their voices represented,” Gies said. 

She said the video’s message is powerful because it presents such a variety of perspectives from the Notre Dame community. 

“We feel that more can be done,” she said. “We’re ready to take a stand on not only a campus-wide level, but on a national level. Having people’s faces representing the movement, representing all different members of the community in this video was really crucial.”

Gies said Senate’s resolutions have paved the way for the 4 to 5 Movement to continue advocating for the rights of LGBTQ students.

“We’ve been gaining momentum as of late with the Student Senate passing resolutions on the gay-straight alliance and the nondiscrimination clause,” she said. “[The video] is another way to show we’re not going away. We’re looking forward to effecting more change and to things getting better.” 

 “It Needs to Get Better” premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. in the LaFortune Student Center’s Montgomery Auditorium. 

Gies said the video will also be posted on the 4 to 5 Movement’s Facebook page and the group’s website, 4to5movement.org