BY Julie Bolcer

January 26 2010 2:35 PM ET

1 PIXEL GIF | ADVOCATE.COM

Notre Dame, a Catholic institution affiliated with the conservative
Congregation of the Holy Cross, stands out among elite American
universities because it lacks a student-run gay group and an inclusive
non-discrimination policy. Jesuit colleges such as Boston College and
Georgetown, which are generally considered more progressive on the
issue, have gay-straight alliances and inclusive non-discrimination
policies in place.

In contrast, Notre Dame abides by the Spirit
of Inclusion, a formal statement adopted in response to student
agitation for gay rights in 1997. The statement appears in du Lac, the
university guide to student life. Reverend John I. Jenkins, the
president of Notre Dame, invoked the Spirit of Inclusion in a letter
that denounced this month’s antigay cartoon.

”We prize the
uniqueness of all persons as God’s creatures' and welcome 'all people,
regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation,
social or economic class, and nationality,’” said Jenkins.

“Further,
'we value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all
members of this community. We condemn harassment of any kind' and 'we
consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and
warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.'”

Critics like Javors say that the sentiments fall short of a real non-discrimination policy.

Planners
of Wednesday’s demonstration are also calling for the creation of a
student-run LGBT group, in which at least 50 students have privately
expressed interest. They believe the current university-approved group,
the elected Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students, does not
adequately serve the small community of gay students, some of whom
remain deeply closeted on campus.









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