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Misplaced Priorities March 9, 2011

Posted by jeneypeney in femme writes, i'm just sayin', the 'f' word, what the hell.

I know it may seem like I am beating a dead horse when I bring up how much the University of Notre Dame has completely an utterly disappointed me in the worst way possible. But I cannot be silent about this…

Not once, but twice the University has failed to protect and bring justice to my Saint Mary’s sisters.

Not once, but twice they pushed their sexual assault cases to the side and brushed their sloppy investigations under the rug as if this all was an episode of the Chicago Code.

Not once, but twice the University that had become such an integral part of my life broke my heart.

Yesterday I came across an article about the football program installing remote video cameras in the football practice complex as a result of the death of Declan Sullivan. The article goes on to say that the family is very pleased that these steps are being taken to avoid another tragic accident like the one that killed their son.

News coverage of Declan’s death have continued to report that the University is “researching what caused the lift to fall” and “how this can be avoided in the future.” I guess the fact that winds gushed at over 50mph and the lift wasn’t supposed to be used if winds exceeded 35mph isn’t enough evidence for them. The University has been in contact with Sullivan’s family to assure that Declan is memorialized and remembered.

I do not want to belittle Declan’s death at all. I was once a member of the Notre Dame Football family, and his death hit me hard. He was far too young and had too promising a future to have his life taken away so suddenly and I doubt I will be forgetting this tragedy any time soon.

However, being a woman, a feminist, a survivor a sexual assault, and an alum of Saint Mary’s College – I cannot help but be outraged at the disparities between the actions the University has taken to handle the deaths of Declan Sullivan and Lizzy Seeburg as well as the second assault allegation revealed to have been poorly handled by Notre Dame.

The University has done everything in their power to investigate Declan’s death; rightly so. But their investigations of the two sexual assaults were minimal – and that’s a generous statement.

The administration has been in constant contact with the Sullivan family while the Seeburgs have all but got down on their knees and begged for Rev. Jenkins to return their phone calls.

Now, they are spending thousands of dollars on fiber-optic remote cameras to be installed on the practice fields to avoid another death like Declan’s. What are they doing to help avoid more sexual assaults of the women of both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame? Nothing but trying to cover their asses for ignoring them in the first place.

While I do  understand that these three cases are all very different for the simple fact that Declan’s life literally ended, I simply do NOT understand why the sexual assault cases were handled with a completely disregard for decency, justice, and tact?

Is it because these girls were “SMC Chiks” and not “Domers”? Is it because the girls were drunk and “asked for it”? Is it because the administration is so blinded by their Catholic values and the need to keep their precious campus to absurdly guarded from the outside world? Is it because they think there is absolutely, positively no way in hell that the upstanding, intelligent, impressive men of Notre Dame could ever commit such a crime?

Whatever the reason is, I am disgusted by you, Notre Dame. I have no idea how you can live with yourselves and claim you are “good Christians” when you ignore the cries of your daughters and their families. The lives of those two girls have forever been changed by this and you’re  indifference to their pleas of help will not make their road to recovery any easier.

You should be ashamed of your ignorance and disregard for the lives of the women on your campus and the one across the street – I know I am.



1. cari - March 9, 2011


2. Legen… wait for it…. DARY! « Just a Lost Soul Swimmin' in a Fish Bowl - March 28, 2011

[…] know I haven’t been around here much lately unless I’m ranting and raving about the poor execution of sexual abuse investigations or women’s and worker’s […]

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