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Ranking the campus outrages

| Wednesday, March 20, 2019

As my time as a columnist (and a student) draws to a close, I have started to reflect on my time at Notre Dame. Of course, there are the interhall sports moments, the passions of the Grotto and the charm of dances. These are great and integral to my Notre Dame experience, but my favorite part of Notre Dame has been the campus outrages: the calls for protest, the scathing Observer letters with subsequent responses and that all students simply move on after the fact without really pondering the consequences after the initial week. Here is my list of the greatest outrages campus has had in my four years of Notre Dame, judged — as always — by my completely arbitrary standards.

10. President Trump’s election

Every college had a President Trump election outrage, so I’m ranking this one last based purely on originality. I have friends at the University of Oregon that had all their classes canceled the next day, and people at Williams College who got the entire week off. All we could muster was a protest the next morning. If we are going to have virtually the only protest I have ever experienced at Notre Dame, I at least want there to be some sort of benefit for me after the fact.

9. Charles Murray coming to campus

I am still not really sure if I am ranking these based on how much the outrage personally benefited me or if I am ranking outrages low based on how much they actually outraged me. Either way, Charles Murray’s visit to campus will remain low. For those that don’t recall, he claims to be a racial scientist, which is akin to a KKK member calling themselves a ghost at Halloween. We all really know what you are despite the name branding.

8. Killing the anonymity of Yik Yak

Yik Yak used to be a place of pure lawlessness, with comments ranging from depressing to hilarious to overall strange. I may have posted frequently to Yik Yak, but none of you would ever know because of its beautiful structure. Then, everything changed when they stripped their anonymous model during my freshman year. Yes, I understand people were sending hateful comments and school shooting scares at other schools, and possibly at Notre Dame. Ultimately, it was a good thing Yik Yak died, but I can’t help but be nostalgic about the Wild West of social media.

7. The Columbus Murals

I never really paid attention to those murals before this year, but you best believe that they were the focal point of my dorm’s Dome Dance. I like this outrage more than others because our campus successfully memed the 15th-century explorer. However, the outrage felt a little overblown based on the apathy most of the students had. That’s why I keep this in the bottom half.

6. Three-year housing requirement

From my senior perspective, this is how the three-year housing requirement announcement went: Step 1) “Wait, we don’t already have a three-year housing requirement?” Step 2) “I’m upset now, I guess, they can’t force that on us.” Step 3) “Nevermind, I already signed my lease for next year anyway.” I loved this outrage because it raised questions about the Office of Housing but ultimately did nothing because fighting the department is futile. I believe it’s the closest we got to an uprising of the administration, however.

5. Closure of Club Fever

I don’t know if I can even joke about this one, the pain is still there. I would explain to many friends back home what Feve was, but they could never understand what Feve represented. It had something for every class (disclaimer: as long as you were 21) and faith in the establishment came from seeing it with your own eyes. The worst part is, I was abroad for Final Feve so I never got to say goodbye. Goodnight, sweet prince.

4. Closure of dining establishments

Whether it be the Waddicks renovation, a temporary closure of North Dining Hall or permanent closure of Recker’s, students really get up in arms about their eateries. I like these outrages because it shows what the Notre Dame student really cares about in the world — food. Yeah, there are issues we talk about that represent injustice, but the world is three meals away from anarchy. I personally believe all the changes to dining have been good, but the opposition opinion usually has funny takes to make this outrage higher on the list.

3. Pence as Commencement speaker

This outrage is high because it gave Notre Dame national news coverage and because, unlike Trump, it was completely original. No one else outside Indiana felt the dual burden of Trump in the presidency and Pence as the state’s former governor. I felt we had to have Pence because of the presidential tradition, but I am still glad we protested over it all the same.

2. Student body elections

Last year’s student body elections were a goldmine. While abroad, I would check The Observer constantly to see whatever new drama popped up. Each ticket losing 10-plus percent of the vote combined with a joke candidacy to force a runoff, different publications endorsing different groups and closed Senate meetings made this thing beautiful to watch from afar. I am sure if I were on campus at the time, this would have been much more divisive in my life, but as it stands, it was more entertaining than anything.

1. Pangborn as a swing dorm and other resident hall switching

I place this in the No. 1 spot because it personally allowed me to move to Dunne and have a great time since. Morrissey was decanting its population, which made me a prime candidate to move over to air conditioning and tall ceilings. Of course, we have a good community, too, I guess. I remember at the information meeting for the new dorm, many members of Walsh and Badin were upset at the changes while I was marveling at the idea of 14-foot ceilings. Fourteen feet. That’s insane and the main reason this outrage takes the top spot.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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