BY ANDREA HOUSTON – For more than 25 years, students at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana have demanded recognition through a gay-straight alliance (GSA).
The Observer, the daily print and online newspaper serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, has published the first installment in a three-part series about the experience of queer students at Notre Dame in light of recent requests that the university grant club status to a GSA.
The university has denied their request 15 times now.
"Each time, the University rejected the request, but also affirmed its commitment to meeting the needs of LGBTQ students in ways other than a student-to-student group, according to rejection letters. The University has historically cited a conflict with Catholic teaching as a reason for rejecting the clubs.
"Last week, students submitted the most recent application asking that SAO recognize a gay-straight alliance (GSA). It was the fourth application for a GSA in the last six years, Peggy Hnatusko, director of student activities for programming, said.
"Hnatusko said the proposed GSA is under review, but also said the current structures the University offers best meet the needs of LGBTQ students.
"It remains the viewpoint of the Student Activities Office that due to the sufficiently complex nature of the issue, the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning students can best be met through the structures that are currently in place,” she said.
Students responded with a video dubbed “It Needs to Get Better,” which is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. The video is a call to action demanding the private Catholic campus become a more inclusive place.
"Notre Dame remains the only Top 20 university without a gay-straight alliance and without an inclusive non-discrimination clause,” one student says in the video.
Another says, “Notre Dame s always at the top of the LGBT unfriendly colleges list.”