Student government refuses to condemn
Last Thursday, an unauthorized sign with the words, “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands,” was placed outside DeBartolo Hall and widely shared accross social media. The sign contained many articles from the Irish Rover and the Observer which reflect Catholic doctrine regarding human sexuality, implying that the authors of these were responsible for the deaths of “queer” people nationwide.
Most shockingly, the sign’s message was painted in blood red, and the names of the articles’ writers were all circled in blood-red paint, drawing hostile attention to individual members of the Notre Dame community. Among the names circled in red paint were those of current students, faculty, and alumni of the University.
The inflammatory sign was placed anonymously, and no one has yet to claim responsibility for it. Student government’s Director of Gender Relations, senior Anne Jarrett, publicly shared her support for the sign—or at least disappointment that it was taken down—tweeting that she swore at “someone [who] pushed down the anti homophobia art display.”
According to the student government website, the department which Jarrett leads “works to foster a healthy environment of communication and dialogue.” This description raises questions about whether this kind of accusatory display, which had palpably violent undertones, is what the student government sees as part of a healthy campus dialogue.
The Rover reached out to the student government leaders, asking them to “formally disavow and condemn the message sent by whoever put this post up.” Student Body President Elizabeth Boyle declined to comment on the matter.
In a Tuesday Observer piece titled “To be Notre Dame,” the student government leaders did lament that “recent events and articles have reminded us of the divisions that exist throughout our world and on our campus. These instances remind us of the need to recommit to supporting every member of our community, ensuring that all people feel welcome in this place we call home.” Their article did not mention the intimidating sign placed on campus, instead vaguely alluding to “events and articles.”
It is unclear which articles the student government leaders were referencing, specifically whether they include the ones which the unauthoraized sign characterized as “homophobic.”
To the Rover leadership, the unauthorized sign was perceived as an attempt to silence the paper and the presentation of Catholic teaching on controversial issues, and as harassment towards all of the people involved, especially to those whose names were circled in blood-red paint. Accordingly, harassment reports were filed to the Notre Dame Police Department and directly to the university through SpeakUp.
The Rover will continue to report as this story unfolds.
Nicolas Abouchedid is a junior studying in the Program of Liberal Studies, with minors in philosophy and Chinese. He is originally from, and one day hopes to return to, Caracas, Venezuela. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.