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The Notre Dame housing crisis

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Seventy-one thousand, eight hundred-one dollars. This will be the average cost of attendance for the 2018-2019 school year. Fifteen-thousand, four hundred-ten dollars of the cost will be for room and board. For some, this cost will pay to stay in Dunne Hall, the newest dorm on campus that is considered to be as nice as the Morris Inn. For others, this means over $15,000 will go toward paying for a double in Sorin, where your room may become a triple when a bat breaks parietals and stays over for the night. For everyone living on campus, this cost demonstrates the University and administration’s failure to live up to the Catholic tradition and principles they so adamantly claim to hold and foster.

The University claims to uphold Catholic tradition, scripture and teaching as major principles of this institution. This includes elements of the Bible such as in Deuteronomy 10:17: “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” The all-too-well-known accusations that certain alumni bribe the University to have their children be put in newer dorms have some truth to them and exemplify how the University fails to live up to its morals and principles. If God would not take a bribe, why would Notre Dame take one?

The Old Testament proclaims, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This quote, as every Notre Dame student is taught in their University-required theology classes, tells how every human is equal in God’s eyes. This quote stresses equality, yet the University turns a blind eye to many issues of equality on campus like dorm inequality. When presented with the questions like, “How is it fair that doubles in Ryan and Duncan are double the size of rooms in Morrissey?” the University continues to claim the tradition and communities of older dorms make up for the egregious inequalities in dorm conditions.

In this semester alone, two students have already had to transfer out of Fisher Hall due to illness caused by the air quality and other health issues in the dorm. Just last week in Sorin, the basement plumbing system that has continued to be faulty flooded the basement with water dense with human waste. Every day, students in dorms on South Quad find their sinks and showers smelling like raw eggs or worse. Every year, there is always the very real and likely chance that at least one resident does not feel he fits in with his dorm’s reputation, contrary to Fr. Jenkins’s claim that “either we are all Notre Dame, or none of us are.”

Though tradition is one of the core principles of Catholicism and Notre Dame itself, it does not make up for the egregious dorm inequality that exists on this campus. In fact, it violates many Catholic principles that it proclaims it upholds. By failing to act on this issue, Notre Dame is failing to uphold its mission: “In all dimensions of the University, Notre Dame pursues its objectives through the formation of an authentic human community graced by the Spirit of Christ.”

Thomas Campbell


April 15

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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