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viewpoint

The bare minimum

| Thursday, November 4, 2021

Applying for college is tough. There are just too many things to consider in finding your “perfect” match. As a student of color and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I had more to consider. I wanted a place where I would be welcomed, loved and accepted on top of a place where I could get a good education. Given that Notre Dame is a Catholic school and given the Catholic church’s past with the LGBTQ+ community, ND was not my immediate first choice. Coming from Catholic schools in Kansas, I have seen first hand how people manipulate and twist the words of the Bible to justify hatred and scorn toward me and the people like me. Although, after reading about how the University boasts inclusion and diversity and that there were actual LGBTQ+ clubs at Notre Dame like PrismND, I was, at the very least, hopeful of the nature of inclusion at ND. Nonetheless, I was willing to give Notre Dame a chance.

And I was not disappointed at all. As I drove up with my mother to Stanford Hall I was greeted with open arms by my new brothers. I was also greeted with the welcome sight of ally pins and all the like. The promise of community and inclusion that I had read about was true, from what I could see. This of course being spearheaded by my hall president, Patrick Lee, and RA’s like Martin Kennedy and Matthew Kerins, among others. It only took a matter of days before Stanford Hall became my home and the men of Stanford my brothers. To say the least I fell in love with my home and with my new school.

Not long after arriving at school, Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. became a staple in my schedule because that is the night that I watch Survivor with my friends. However, this particular Wednesday night, Oct. 14, I was told about a certain Irish Rover article called, “No Man Can Serve Two Masters” by Mary Frances Myler. As I read the article, I could only think of the first day I arrived and how I felt immediately welcomed by my new brothers of Stanford. I was appalled, not only by the content of the article itself but what came after. Or in this case what didn’t come after.

What I had expected to happen in the wake of the article were two things. One, I expected a backlash from the student body, which to no surprise happened to a certain degree. Two, I expected the Student Government to rebuke the content of the article and speak out against it saying how love will win out and that hatred and scorn have no place at Notre Dame. Something along those lines is what I generally thought would happen. However, I found that there was nothing more than one post on the Student Government Instagram page.

I couldn’t help but think, “Where is our student government?”. Where was our executive council? Where were our class councils? The Council of Hall Presidents or the Senate? Where were our elected officials when their constituents were being attacked? Where were our executives who have a pride flag on the Student Government website? From what I could see, nothing to be found. This act of almost utter silence spoke volumes to me on how our government handles these situations.

When someone decides to stir up controversy at the expense of a marginalized group, it is imperative that we shut down any kind of hatred and scorn. Unfortunately, we live in a world where LGBTQ+ peoples are still being assaulted and killed for their sexuality and their very existence both domestically and abroad. So, I would call on our Student Government, in the future, to condemn anything that seeks to marginalize and spread hatred towards any group. To which it is unfortunate that it must be said in the first place, because what I am asking for is the bare minimum. I am not asking for something major, but literally just calling for support of the LGBTQ+ community when we are attacked. Just speak up more is all.

If we are to live up to what this University boasts about inclusion and acceptance, then we need not only the students, but also the student government to stand up in the face of hatred and adversity. This can be the only way for us to move forward and the only way for us to build a community of love and compassion. In the future, I hope our current and the next student leaders will heed this and will at least do our community the bare minimum.

Pablo Oropeza 

freshman

Nov. 2

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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