One hundred students at the University of Notre Dame began a hunger strike Wednesday night. They were demanding their civil rights, namely an anti-discrimination policy that would ban bias against lesbians and gay men. University trustees will meet this week to consider this policy that has already been approved by the Senate Faculty and the Academic Council.
Many officials at the university, including its President, Rev. Edward Malloy, argue that the policy will compromise a main component of the school’s Roman Catholic mission. “The primary spirit animating this is moral, because whereas in a secular environment this is seen as a simple matter of civil rights, that’s not the way it’s viewed through a Catholic prism,” said school spokesman Dennis Moore.
In 1995, a gay and lesbian student organization was prohibited by the university from meeting on campus. Two years later Notre Dame began printing a statement in university handbooks that welcomed homosexuals into the “family,” and assured them that they would not face discrimination.
Aaron Kreider of the Progressive Student Alliance and an organizer of the hunger strike stated, “It says we’re going to include people, but we’re not going to give them legal protection from discrimination.”