Students and staff at the University of Notre Dame have created a video called, “It Needs To Get Better.” They highlight that the administration has rejected proposals to create a gay-straight student alliance fifteen times and urge administrators to adopt non-discrimination policies that protect LGBT members of the community from discrimination. Watch it:
Fifteen years ago, the university adopted a “spirit of inclusion” statement that reads in part:
We welcome all people, regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and nationality, for example, precisely because of Christ’s calling to treat others as we desire to be treated. We value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community. We condemn harassment of any kind, and University policies proscribe it. We consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.
But that sentiment clearly does not reflect the current campus climate for LGBT students. The Princeton Review has ranked Notre Dame as one of the top six most LGBT-unfriendly campuses in the country, and the university does not even participate in the Campus Climate Index. A 2010 cartoon published in the student newspaper, The Observer, featured the anti-gay joke “What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable? A baseball bat.” The newspaper apologized, but the incident inspired students to protest campus policies. Apparently those concerns persist to this day.