Dear Notre Dame Family and Club Leaders,
We seek change — in our alumni efforts, our campus, and in this country. But true change begins in our hearts.
This is a crucial time in our nation and in the history of Notre Dame, as racially-biased, abhorrent behavior is discriminately killing our Black brothers and sisters — in body, mind, and spirit. The tipping point has been crossed. Enough! Enough of the systemic racism that plagues American society and its ill effects within the ND family. The time is NOW to stand for social justice and to take actions of inclusivity toward our diverse alumni.
More than 40 years ago, our beloved Fr. Ted Hesburgh took bold action to create diverse alumni boards, beginning with our Black alumni. But the alumni experience begins as a student. And, if the student experience is spoiled by racial discrimination, prejudices, or microaggressions, there is no interest in being engaged in the life of the University as an alumnus, fearing continued or similar unwelcome treatment in our Clubs.
Proximity breeds empathy and distance breeds suspicion. And reading this most recent petition online, from a collection of young Black alumni, this quote rings true and has now garnered the endorsement of more than 10,000 people, a number that continues to grow. This petition offers insight into the negative experiences of Black students on our campus, which should be embarrassing to us all, considering Fr. Sorin’s goal for ND to be “one of the most powerful means of doing good in this country.” Unfortunately, the same challenges apply for our Hispanic, Asian Pacific, and Native American students and alumni. While not every member of the campus community is guilty of engendering these negative experiences, lack of corrective action is unacceptable. We propose that Clubs be incentivized for driving diversity outreach and racial justice, and also propose a “no tolerance” system for unjust behavior.
Eight years ago, NDAA created the Diversity Council: