Thomas Zwiller | Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Dear Notre Dame students,
I recently decided to write, not on sports as I usually do, but rather COVID-19. The recent complaints about the increased COVID-19 protocols are simply tone-deaf, foolish and unreasonable. Here’s why:
- This is not a starting point for the University; rather, it is a reaction. What is the University reacting to? Students showing such poor conduct regarding the previous COVID regulations that the school was forced to take a two-week electronic hiatus, and later, storming the field post-Clemson game. These actions have shown that students won’t abide by relaxed COVID regulations.
- The reaction I had to Notre Dame being shut down for two weeks last semester was embarrassment. Fr. Jenkins had talked about ND being a leader, showing that a university can not only deal with COVID, but excel. Notre Dame missed that mark drastically. You were covered by the “New York Times” and “The Washington Post,” to name a few. The Notre Dame administration was right — the school was an example, just not the one they wanted to be. More of a warning.
- Points one and two both feed into the idea that feels obvious to me: Notre Dame is an institution of higher learning, not a daycare. Heaven forbid the University take steps to ensure that you can receive the education you paid for in the purest form possible. I don’t see these protocols as a roadblock to learning and having fun at Notre Dame; they are guardrails to keep students safe.
- The standard being asked of you is not an impossible one. Notre Dame students failed to rise to the challenge last semester, but I know doing so is not impossible. I need only point toward Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s. They rose to the occasion, which is why their administrations were not forced to enact stricter regulations. Notre Dame failed, and as a result, you have invited these harsher protocols.
- At the moment of my writing this, the COVID moving average has spiked to a high this semester. The campus has shut down extracurriculars. The calls for COVID regulation reform amidst this rise in numbers are simply ironic and tone-deaf. Had you proved yourselves more capable and kept the numbers low in the early days of the semester, perhaps a call for such reform would be justified.
- The “lack” of due process has been somewhat of a rallying cry since our return to campus. This is simply an unfounded accusation directed towards the administration, made by people who had not bothered to read what they were agreeing to when they arrived back at school. According to Erin Hoffman Harding, it “is the third time through for a student with a human intervention before we would even contemplate that a student might be dismissed.” If that’s not due process, what is? You simply don’t want to be held responsible for your own actions.
Stop complaining about the stricter COVID regulations and continue to fight on.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.