The Rose Garden, pt. 2: Electric boogaloo
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Every time I think it can’t get worse HERE, something happens that proves me wrong. This time, it was seeing the partygoers at the MBA/MSF Spring Immersion Program reception at the Morris Inn not wearing masks while the university turned a blind eye. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this is a breaking point in the hypocrisy shown by the university administration; this feels a lot like the infamous Rose Garden party. Ultimately, this event was yet another shocking but unsurprising display of just how out of touch the administration appears to be with the current situation faced by all of its students.
Last week, the Observer shared an editorial outlining the shortcomings of the administration. It boils down to the university’s guidelines and mandates being ineffective due to lack of communication. Clearly, University President Fr. John Jenkins is oblivious to the hardships faced by students. The decision was made to hang several banners of Fr. Jenkins prominently around campus. The banners, featuring Fr. Jenkins staring off into space, arms crossed, conveyed an air of authoritarianism. It struck me as exceptionally distasteful and problematic that they were hung while the administration continued to impose arbitrary, punishing guidelines. These have since been taken down, but it seemed symbolic of just how obtuse the administration is.
The party at the Morris Inn makes me feel angry, hopeless and powerless. Despite a letter signed by over 1,500 people, several Observer pieces and the general air of unhappiness around campus, the administration has made it clear nothing will change and nothing can be done to increase transparency. The best they can do is offer to babysit clubs and organizations in designated areas “subject to capacity and duration limitations determined by the Student Activities Office.” So much for transparency in communication. According to one such limitation laid out on SAO’s website, “Beverages may not be served at indoor events, but individual cans or bottles may be served at outdoor events or as takeaway from indoor events.” I can’t sit at a table with my three roommates but an unsupervised, maskless partygoer can have a beer in the Morris Inn. Notre Dame’s priorities are perplexing at best and deeply upsetting at worst.
I know every student and parent wants more transparency. At this point, it almost feels like too much to ask for. After all, I wouldn’t want to interrupt a plan to host more poorly attended outdoor events. But if any university official is reading this letter, please show us in some way, any way, that you are listening to us.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.