A call to all
Paul Baranay | Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I have considered myself part of the Notre Dame family for my entire life. I was born and raised in South Bend, and some of my earliest memories are of my parents taking me to dinner in South Dining and of visiting the football locker room.
But this past Monday, while listening to my fellow students speak at the “A Call to Action” town hall meeting, my conception of Notre Dame was turned upside down. Over 30 students, some of whom I knew from classes or dorm parties, shared personal, harrowing stories of how they had been subjected to very real discrimination on campus — from professors, from administrators and staff, from fellow students. Hearing them speak, I felt like I no longer really knew my own family.
In the coming weeks, I am sure that many will call upon the administration, the faculty and student government to foster greater awareness of this critical issue. I myself call upon Student Affairs to undertake a systematic survey of discrimination across the University, to publish these results for all to see and to use the collected data to propose a detailed set of policy changes for implementation in the coming months and years.
But calling upon the administration is not enough. Calling upon the faculty is not enough. Calling upon student government is not enough.
To truly bring about change, our plan of action must involve the student body as a whole. This is not an issue solely for students who have endured discrimination and harassment. This is not a problem to be tackled only by members of student government and the campus cultural clubs. This is a crisis for all of us who claim to be part of the Notre Dame family.
We ourselves must be agents of change: in our dorms and in our classrooms, through what we say and how we say it, by speaking up when others are torn down. We must all unite in order to build a university free of discrimination, a university truly worthy of Our Lady’s name.