For the administration
Matt Roe | Monday, April 30, 2012
Dear Notre Dame Administration,
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a tour guide this past year and having the privilege of showcasing the campus and academic life to prospective and admitted students. I’ve been thrilled to answer the questions of these individuals, as well as concerns or specific questions that have come from their parents. However, as other tour guides have told me, there will be that one tour you will always remember. Mine happened last week.
The tour had two families of admitted students, plus one mother whose daughter was currently getting another tour of campus provided by her host student. At the end of the tour, this one mother stayed back to ask some questions that were concerning her daughter. The first question she asked was, “How is the LGBTQ community and how are they treated on campus?”
I was at a loss. On one hand, a vast majority of my friends are in complete support of the inclusion and would love to see it happen. On the other hand, we have an administration that continually chooses to reject adding sexual orientation to the non-discrimination clause.
What could I say? The mother continued by saying that her daughter (she never mentioned her daughter’s orientation, nor was it my right to ask) was very concerned by the lack of a Gay-Straight Alliance or an official LGBTQ club, for she has friends who are members of the community and didn’t think she would be comfortable on campus. After a while, we began to discuss the difference in generations on this issue, and how the current generation of college students (including those on this campus) are overwhelmingly supportive of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
Notre Dame, your attitude on this issue is starting to have serious effects. Students who you want to welcome into the family are turning away due to the uncomfortable atmosphere surrounding this issue. I have also heard from friends who work in the Phone Center that recent alumni are refusing to donate to the University because you won’t add sexual orientation to the non-discrimination clause.
Throughout the year, we have seen individuals write about how other Catholic colleges in the country (including Saint Mary’s) have LGBTQ organizations. I could throw in official Church documents that state that we are all called to accept one another fully. But apparently, this doesn’t work.
Instead, I ask you this, Notre Dame administration: How would you have answered this mother’s question? How would you respond to her concern over the lack of an official LGBTQ? What would you do if she discovered that you repeatedly turn down the request for club status and for adding sexual orientation to the clause? How would you respond?