University announcement of construction of controversial Crossroads Project, relocation of commencement 2015 met with criticism
A university press release dated august 28 announced the start of construction on the $400 million Campus Crossroads stadium renovation. Chuck hurley, university registrar, sent an email to students later that day to say that the expedited construction will force commencement 2015 into the Joyce Center.
University president Father John Jenkins, CSC, noted in the official statement: “We announced this project in January with the hope—though not necessarily the expectation—that we could begin in November … Thanks to the tireless work of many, plans have been finalized and funds have been raised so that we can, indeed, commence construction on facilities that will unite and inspire every member of our campus community for decades to come.”
In spite of objections from students, faculty, and alumni, the university is pushing ahead with the controversial project at an alarming speed and with no apparent concern for the legitimate criticisms raised in the Rover, the Observer, and across social media. Such concerns include the absence of administrative transparency, the gargantuan cost of the facilities, and how the project seems at odds with Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.
Patrick deneen, Professor of Political Science, expressed to the Rover: “It is surprising and disappointing that such a massive expenditure, and building on such a grandiose scale, has not been subject to more discussion throughout the campus community. especially in light of the call of pope Francis to simplicity and a greater awareness of the corrupting influence of money, I would have hoped not only for a more extensive discussion of this project in particular, but a more widespread and sustained reflection on how lucre has become an obsession in our society, on our campuses, and among our students, and how this presents a special challenge for a Catholic university as wealthy and prominent as Notre Dame.”
Administrators have left the question of how the project comports with Catholic social tradition unanswered, especially in Notre Dame’s public relations campaign that outlines reasons to push ahead with construction.
Moving the 2015 commencement ceremony gives students—especially seniors—further reason to protest the project.
“I was certainly disappointed to learn that commencement will not be housed in the stadium. I, like many of my fellow seniors, have more than two people in my life whom I wanted to be able to attend the commencement ceremony,” senior Maddie Kalish told the Rover, referencing the limited seating in the Joyce Center. “Additionally, I don’t understand why the project costs upwards of $400 million. I understand that there is a need for more space, but it seems like this problem could be solved with the addition of a more modestly sized building. Spending $400 million to make the stadium the hub of campus seems like a waste when there are more pressing needs on our campus and in our community.”
When asked for more details about the status of Campus Crossroads and developments, university spokesman Dennis Brown—speaking also on behalf of vice president for public affairs and communication Paul Browne—said he had “nothing to add” to public information. he directed the Rover to the project’s official website, which has all material and publicity the university is choosing to offer at this point. brown likewise declined to comment on negative press the Crossroads project has garnered since its January announcement.
Lilia Draime is a senior history major with minors in constitutional studies and philosophy, religion, and literature. She has a theory that The Who were Platonists. Ask her about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.