University announces new MLK Day policy
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, December 2, 2015
In an email to the student body sent Nov. 23, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced plans for the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Jan. 18. All classes and campus activities from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. will be canceled to allow for student, faculty and staff participation in the events.
After receiving feedback from students, faculty and staff, the President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion “recommended last spring that we take time as a community on MLK Jr. Day to both celebrate the diversity that currently exists on our campus and to reflect on how Notre Dame might become even more welcoming and inclusive,” Jenkins said in the email.
“The committee did so, too, in recognition of the fact that we have an obligation at Notre Dame to participate in and learn from the ongoing national and even global conversation on diversity and inclusion. All students, faculty and staff will be invited to participate, making this a special opportunity to gather as a campus community,” he said.
The committee is currently planning several events for MLK Jr. Day, which include a candlelit prayer service and midnight march from the Word of Life mural at Hesburgh Library to the Grotto, the email stated. There will be a luncheon and program for 3,000 students, faculty and staff in the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center and a Celebration Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 5:15 p.m. featuring the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, Jenkins said.
“Most importantly, I hope you will use this occasion to reflect on the values that are so central to Dr. King’s legacy and to Notre Dame’s mission. Whether in the context of the courses you are taking, through attendance at campus lectures, or in informal discussions, your participation in our ongoing dialogue about what it means to be the kind of community we strive to be at Notre Dame and the ways that we, individually and collectively, can be a force for good in the world, is critical,” he said. “At Notre Dame, we often speak of community. As president of the University, I have the privilege of experiencing the strength and depth of the Notre Dame community in many settings, in our residence halls, at alumni gatherings, in the friendships formed on campus, and in the ways we come together in times of joy and sorrow. Our commemoration of MLK Jr. Day will be an opportunity to reflect on how we can make our community more welcoming and inclusive, and what we can do to make our nation and our world more just and harmonious. I look forward to joining with you for these important events.”