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We are all Notre Dame

| Thursday, October 17, 2019

Dear Notre Dame,

The dialogue on this campus has very real implications for the lives of students, especially when it begins to touch on an individual’s or group’s identity. Over the course of the last few weeks, we have seen things published and heard things said that specifically target the LGBTQ members of our Notre Dame family. The campus dialogue, although often dimmed down and able to hide in the shadows, is one that repeatedly fails these members of our community.

From targeted attempts to undermine the importance of the conversation on the pains of being a member of the LGBTQ community to blatant attempts to justify the discrimination of LGBTQ individuals, these have all come from Notre Dame students. If we claim to be an inclusive community, what kind of inclusion is this? Rather, it excludes a vital part of who we are as a student body. Our student body is comprised of students who are diverse in a multitude of ways, each bringing their unique perspectives and enriching our student experiences. Attacks on the LGBTQ community ostracize important members of our community — some have come in the name of Catholicism, a religion that teaches us to love one another. This comes just months after the results of the 2018-2019 Inclusive Campus Climate Survey, which highlighted that a large percentage (47%) of our student body experiences some form of adverse treatment on campus due to personal characteristics.

Here at Diversity Council, we serve to spread awareness and understanding of the different groups that compose the Notre Dame community we all live in, each equally powerful and essential to who we are as a student body. It is necessary that we address the fact that we support all LGBTQ members of the Notre Dame family, and they deserve the same rights and comforts that all other students enjoy here. It should go without saying.

We have not, do not and will not tolerate any behavior that ostracizes and silences the voices of LGBTQ students. It is time to do better, Notre Dame. It is time to stop taking the rights of others in the name of your own. No one has a right to argue against anyone else’s existence. It is time to stop hiding behind a curtain of a higher ground that you think allows you to act against a specific group of people.

Notre Dame is more than one voice, and stepping over the voice of a marginalized group is effectively an effort to remove them from what composes Notre Dame. We are better than that. We know you are better than that.

We know you are better than hiding behind the veil of your keyboards, and that you are capable of partaking in a true dialogue that would be much more productive. We invite you to share your thoughts with your peers and to truly embody what it means to be ND. If the mission of Notre Dame is to create leaders that will fight for a greater good, consider what the impact of the words you type have on your peers. Consider that, instead of typing hurtful and offensive pixels on a screen, you were to look at one of your LGBTQ peers in the eye and say those same exact words. We can almost guarantee you wouldn’t, because standing across from you would be a real, living human being. This real human being is the same one who is reading what you wrote on that letter, and those same emotions you imagine they would feel when you were face-to-face are the same ones they felt when they read what a fellow Notre Dame student wrote.

We either practice the idea that we are all Notre Dame, or we prohibit the idea that one unified Notre Dame exists.

Diversity Council

Tiffany Rojas

chair, senior

Tess Ngochi

vice chair, junior

Amaya Medeiros

secretary, sophomore

Tatiana Pernetti

secretary, senior

Estefan Linares

parliamentarian, junior

Savannah Bedford

social media coordinator, junior

MacKenzie Isaac

director of diversity and inclusion for Student Government, senior

The Diversity Council of Notre Dame advocates for awareness, understanding and acceptance on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and other intersectional identities in the Notre Dame community. The viewpoints expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Diversity Council, but are the individual opinions of the author. You can contact Diversity Council at [email protected]

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

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