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Response to parietal protest — activism in search of a cause

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Assuming the piece published earlier this week defending the parietal sit-in at Stanford Hall was not satirical, I write to respond to the absurdity of the author’s claims. 

For those who have not read it — “Parietals criminalize gender itself, but we already knew that”the basis of the author’s argument is that parietals perpetuate racism, sexism and ‘queerphobia’ on Notre Dame’s campus. 

The author further states the parietal system is designed to perpetuate the ‘white cis-heteronormative hegemony’ of Notre Dame’s campus, offering little support or definitions of these intersectional buzzwords, which remain unknown outside of the gender studies department.

He argues that the Notre Dame Police Department’s response to the parietal sit-in, in which it followed standard University protocol, unfairly targeted ‘womxn [sic] of color’ and ‘marginalized persons.’ 

But the author’s own argument falls apart when he, a self-identified ‘cis-gender queer student,’ acknowledges he is unburdened by the supposedly oppressive parietal system. In fact, he benefits from it as he is free to ‘walk into my dorm with my significant other at any time of day.’

This is odd considering queer persons allegedly bear the brunt of the parietal system, according to the author’s own argument. Apparently his status as a white cisgender person outweighs the burdens imposed on him as a queer person? Further clarification is needed. 

For most members of the Notre Dame community, as has fortunately been expressed in other responses in The Observer this week, these arguments are absurd. Yet, unfortunately, they have gained traction on university campuses across the country.

Such a fractured vision of reality robs us of our shared human identity and is antithetical to retaining a strong campus community. Notre Dame is a place full of people from different backgrounds, regions of the country and socioeconomic groups— and this diversity is embraced within the mission of its Catholic identity.  

We all bear our individual burdens, but none of us are marginalized in any true sense of the word given our opportunity to attend Notre Dame during a period in world history unparalleled in terms of human flourishing and well-being. 

I suggest the author and group channel their activist zeal to a more worthy cause rather than impose fringe views of gender and identity on the Notre Dame community.

Ben Horvath 

class of 2015, J.D. Candidate, 2021 

Nov. 21

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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