Posted on February 21, 2012 in Announcements by Dani
A STUDENT COALITION AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA AND THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Student Coalition of UND and CUA
Alex Coccia: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Ryan Fecteau: email@example.com
SOUTH BEND, IND. – On February 13, 2012, students at the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America formed a coalition which advocates for official university recognition of gay-straight alliances on both campuses. As flagship Catholic universities in the United States, the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America stand in solidarity as they move forward with gay-straight alliance proposals. Together, they share one message: “Let’s make it official.”
The University of Notre Dame has never officially recognized a gay-straight alliance or any LGBT themed student group, while The Catholic University of America officially recognized the Organization for Gay and Lesbian Student Rights from 1988 to 2002. Despite the absence of official recognition, members at each university have formed communities to promote safety and affirmation for LGBT students and allies. However, challenges exist on both campuses that prevent an effective and substantive approach to the promotion of safety and full inclusion for LGBTQ members of the community.
Now more than ever before, the gravity of gay-straight alliances on college campuses is unequivocal. Among 15 to 24-year-olds, suicide remains the third leading cause of death (National Adolescent Health Information 2006). In addition, suicide stands as the second leading cause of death on college campuses (CDC 2008). An overwhelming 86.2% of LGBT students experienced harassment at school (GLSEN National School Climate Survey). Tragic stories of discrimination, harassment, and suicide run weekly on front pages and evening newscasts. The University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America face these same troubles.
While both universities incorporate a Catholic mission and tradition, this coalition believes that a gay-straight alliance fits hand-in-hand with Catholic principles. Both universities can remain grounded in their faith and at the same time offer protection and acceptance for LGBT students. More than half of Catholic universities and colleges in the United States agree and have instituted LGBT student groups. This includes DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the country. An important testament to the Catholic identity of these universities would be the recognition of gay-straight alliances focused on embodying a necessary spirit of inclusion in accordance with the Catholic Church’s social teaching of universal acceptance, and addressing aversive homophobia towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning persons and their Allies.
Both movements at the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America stand firm on the notion that faith and sexuality are not mutually exclusive. This coalition stands behind an identity of faith, but also reinforces that Catholic principles call for the protection and support of our neighbors. The existence of gay-straight alliances on the campuses of the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America align with a teaching that says “[Homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Catechism of Catholic Church 2358). A gay-straight alliance upholds this very declaration. A gay-straight alliance promotes the sentiment of acceptance and inclusion. A gay-straight alliance is definitively necessary on these campuses.
As flagship Catholic universities in the United States, this coalition of students from the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America accentuate the message: “Let’s make it official.”