Uses reported incident in dorm to spark movement
The “End Hate at ND” movement has organized on two occasions protested parietals by conducting sit-ins after approved visiting hours. In a recent Observer piece, the group offered this criticism of parietals: “Parietals only segregate our community, creating echo-chambers of homogenous thought. History has shown us all too well the danger that homogenous thought bubbles can create. Thus, individual incidents of prejudice are validated by institutional structures.” They aim also to, among other things, “decolonize academia” and “implement diversity training in each dorm.” How they began the process of trying to move the community towards these changes is the subject of this article.
In the early hours of Sunday, November 17, approximately 30 protesters met at the Clarke Memorial Fountain to begin a protest at Stanford Hall as part of a movement called “End Hate at ND.” According to the group’s Instagram account, @endhateatnd, the protestors proceeded to Stanford Hall at 1:30 am and held a night of peaceful protest and prayer, complete with signs proclaiming the goals of their movement. They occupied the first-floor hallway outside of rector Justin McDevitt’s room.
The protest was held in response to an incident on the night of Friday, November 15 in Keenan Hall. Keenan sophomore Axell Komlan, was just on the other side of the door as that night unfolded. He recounts what transpired:
“I was in my room on the first floor when suddenly I heard a girl who was screaming at the top of her lungs, angry at the fact that she was the victim of racially-insensitive, homophobic comments (being called the “n” word and the “d” word) at a dorm party that she came from at one of the upper floors in Keenan. I looked outside my door and saw a black Notre Dame student who was lingering in the stairwell, visibly distraught at the comments that were hurled her way earlier that night. She asserted several times throughout the evening that she wasn’t going anywhere until she saw the rector and witnessed the person who made the comments get disciplined for his actions.
“As some Keenan guys tried screaming in her face to get out of the dorm, the hall staff tried to break up the commotion and have the student in question relocate to the basement so that she could talk about the issue in a less volatile, quieter space. Instead… the student doubled down, banging on the doors of residents on the first floor while voicing her frustrations on two things: the racism that she’s dealt with during her time at Notre Dame and the heteronormative structure of parietals that allows these homophobic incidents to persist. This back-and-forth between the student and the hall staff went on for about 30-40 minutes until she was escorted out of the building by the police.”
According to a flyer produced by End Hate at ND, the movement’s goal is to put “an end to the hate, bigotry, and divisiveness at Notre Dame.”
Just before 2:00 am on the night of the protest, members of Stanford Hall staff came to tell the protesters that parietals would soon take effect and that they would be in violation of the University’s Standards of Conduct if they stayed past the allotted time. Stanford Hall rector Justin McDevitt called Notre Dame Police after the group refused to move their protest to the hall’s 24-hour space. At approximately 2:30 am, NDPD officers arrived and told the protesters that if they did not move to the 24-hour space as McDevitt and the officers had asked, their Notre Dame ID cards would need to be presented.
The remaining ten protestors stayed at Stanford but were warned by the NDPD officers at around 3:30 am of the University’s Emergency Action Procedure. This rule states that students who pose “serious disruption of University life” may be expelled. The protestors remained until 4:00 am when McDevitt threatened to invoke the Emergency Action Procedure.
Freshman Paul Cassidy, who lives in the east/west section of Stanford Hall recounted: “Justin was very on top of things from how it seemed to me: I saw him twice that night, once sitting in his room with the door open I assume listening out into the hall, and another time standing in the Stanford foyer by the office having what seemed to be a normal conversation with some of the people protesting.”
The group says that they have chosen parietals as their main focus because the long-established policy is “emblematic of the way Notre Dame tries to build community, by differentiation, and through enforcing relationships based on similarity.”
End Hate at ND has not stopped at the protest in Stanford Hall. The group staged a second protest on Thursday, November 21 in Sorin College. They announced on their Instagram account that they would “cooperate with all University and NDPD directives as student safety is our first priority.” During their second gathering, they shared their goals with the residents and hall staff of Sorin College by distributing flyers with their goals, including to “decolonize academia” and “implement diversity training in each dorm,” listed. Leaders of the movement announced via social media that they plan to host more protests in support of their cause.
The group has yet to stage a third sit-in, but it seems likely that their movement will continue in the same manner. End Hate at ND leaders have been collecting students’ personal experiences with the “harms parietals have caused.”
The movement has been greeted by a variety of responses from the Notre Dame community. Many members have responded by defending parietals. “Although I believe that the problems surrounding parietals are valid and should be addressed, I think that parietals are not the source of the issues,” said McGlinn sophomore Mary Mueller. “I think that they provide a structure for a respectful atmosphere and they also eliminate many complaints to RAs and rectors.”
Others support the goal of attempting to end parietals. St. Edward’s Hall sophomore Joel Deutsch shared that he “can only think of two reasons as to why parietals are in place: one, to uphold Du Lac, which is illogical because Du Lac could be violated at any hour, and two, to respect one’s roommate who wants privacy during those hours. While this is reasonable, Residence Life often deals with problems between roommates successfully, and if a roommate had a problem with it [breaking parietals], I am sure it could be resolved.”
The issue of partials seems to be a divisive issue on campus, and one that won’t disappear anytime soon.
Emma Dudrick is a sophomore who is originally from beautiful Upstate New York and currently resides in Pangborn Hall. She is studying political science and after graduation hopes to move to the French countryside and live in a vegetarian co-op. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.