Gay group seeks formal recognition at Notre Dame

It’s not the first time and, if unsuccessful, it probably won’t be the last.


For more than 25 years, Notre Dame students have asked the University to formally recognize a student organization that addresses the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community on campus.

The requests have come in many forms, including student government resolutions, a report to the Board of Trustees and applications from student organizations requesting to be officially recognized as a club by the Student Activities Office (SAO).

Each time, the University rejected the request, but also affirmed its commitment to meeting the needs of LGBTQ students in ways other than a student-to-student group, according to rejection letters. The University has historically cited a conflict with Catholic teaching as a reason for rejecting the clubs.

Last week, students submitted the most recent application asking that SAO recognize a gay-straight alliance (GSA). It was the fourth application for a GSA in the last six years, Peggy Hnatusko, director of student activities for programming, said.

Hnatusko said the proposed GSA is under review, but also said the current structures the University offers best meet the needs of LGBTQ students.

“It remains the viewpoint of the Student Activities Office that due to the sufficiently complex nature of the issue, the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning students can best be met through the structures that are currently in place,” she said.

Student body president Pat McCormick said the University has made significant progress on addressing the needs of LGBTQ students over the years, but students have come to him asking for the next step.

“Students are asking and seeking a peer-to-peer kind of group where gay and straight students can come together and have their own kind of independent group,” he said. “The core element that we’re trying to seek is whether we can make some kind of progress in trying to advance the spirit of inclusion further in ways that are consistent with Catholic teaching.”

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