ND groups and departments release statements in response to ongoing protests
Observer Staff Report | Friday, June 12, 2020
Over the past two weeks, various organizations and student groups at Notre Dame have released statements in light of the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and demonstrations that followed his death.
Notre Dame Athletics issued a statement June 5, in which they committed to change and highlighted six broad areas to improve upon. Promising to listen to student-athletes and amplify their voices, Athletics plans on holding more forums for engagement. In addition, the statement said Athletics will work to diversify their staff and “make voter education and participation a priority for students and staff” for the upcoming national election.
Wabruda, a student group that promotes brotherhood among Black men on campus, posted a statement June 9 calling on University President Fr. John Jenkins, his Presidential Cabinet and members of the administration to address racial inequality on campus.
“The rising tide of racial consciousness sweeping across the nation due to the untimely passing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and those who have unfortunately faced similar fates in the past has offered a moment of reflection on the racial inequalities and injustices present within our Notre Dame community,” the statement said.
Wabruda’s requests included an increase of funds to student-led Black organizations by 50% for the upcoming school year and an increase in the percentage of Black students within the student body to 8-10% in the next two years. The statement also called the University to “require all incoming students to take two race sensitivity classes as a ‘Catholic Social Teaching’ pre-requisite before graduating from the University” and to redirect additional funds to support minority and marginalized communities in South Bend.
College Democrats of Notre Dame issued a joint statement on June 1 with the Black Student Association, condemning police brutality, demanding justice for victims and calling for structural change at the University.
“Structural criminal justice reform is the only way to save Black lives,” the statement said. “Staying silent on this issue enables oppression, and it is the responsibility of people in a position of power to take an appropriate stance.”
The statement asked the University to support Black students when instances of racism occur and hold non-Black students accountable for their actions.
“Being a predominantly white institution, Notre Dame has a responsibility to teach students to be anti-racist and to advocate for the black lives on campus,” the statement said.
Notre Dame Right to Life also issued a short statement on June 1, encouraging people to join Notre Dame’s prayer service held on campus.
“We mourn the senseless and unjust death of George Floyd,” the statement said. “And we renew our commitment to bear witness in our words and deeds to the intrinsic equal dignity and matchless worth of every member of the human family, without exceptions, from conception to natural death.”
While the University responded to student requests to combat racism on campus Monday, members of the Black Alumni Club began circulating a petition Wednesday, asking the University to take more concrete steps in order to create a more diverse and inclusive campus for Black students.