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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

Senate talks LGBTQ+ advocacy and representation

At Wednesday evening's senate meeting, Briana Chappell, director of gender relations and LGBTQ+ advocacy, highlighted plans to edit the Moreau First Year Experience curriculum to promote values of diversity, equity and inclusion in her report on LGBTQ+ advocacy at Notre Dame this year.

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Wednesday night, the Senate discussed multiple topics, including LGBTQ+ representation and advocacy.


“We're close to the end of our process of revising the Moreau curriculum alongside the Moreau Advisory Committee and Diversity Council to help evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum in conveying the university's DEI values and DEI principles,” Chappell said.

This updated Moreau curriculum will put a greater emphasis on ideas such as allyship, equity and intersectionality.

In addition to updating the Moreau curriculum, Chappell also announced that work is being done to update hall staff training to better meet the needs of LGBTQ+ students.

Chappell touted two study abroad identity panels, which discussed the experiences of Notre Dame LGBTQ+ and minority students abroad. These panels aimed to give LGBTQ+ students information from others who have studied abroad already on which countries are best for LGBTQ+ students to visit or reside in. Chappell said this was just the first step in improving the experiences of LGBTQ+ students abroad.

“We're at the preliminary stages of compiling the information necessary to create a study abroad guide for LGBTQ + students looking to study abroad to help navigate those cultural differences of various abroad locations and opportunities,” Chappell said.

Chappell also highlighted an initiative to increase LGBTQ+ and minority representation at the University Counseling Center (UCC), which was passed earlier this semester.

“This ensures that LGBTQ+ students as well as racial and ethnic minorities feel they have an affirming support system that they're comfortable sharing sensitive aspects of their identity with,” Chappell said.

Chappell went on to mention the revitalization of the LGBTQ+ peer mentorship program, which helps to connect fellow LGBTQ+ students on campus. The program stopped due to COVID-19 but is now running smoothly again, Chappell said.

Concluding her remarks, Chappell stressed the importance LGBTQ+ advocacy and declared her resolve to continue her department’s work.

“We plan on continuing to develop programming that promotes the right of each and every individual on the Notre Dame campus to feel safe, welcome and have an equitable experience,” she said.

Student body vice president Sophie Stitt also expressed a sense of optimism about the future of LGBTQ+ advocacy at Notre Dame, as well as the work Chappell has done as a director.

“This is the first year that this position has existed,” Stitt said, praising Chappell for “blazing a trail and doing really good work.”

In other business, a resolution was passed to suspend the Farley Hall senate election in accordance with the University Constitution as the only candidate, Megan Keenan, was running unopposed. 

Multiple senators voiced their concerns about recent price increases at Chick-fil-A and other establishments on campus and announced their intentions to pass a resolution to solve the problem.

“This will be addressed,” one enthusiastic senator declared.

Next week, the senate will consider a resolution to call upon Campus Dining to make cooking classes available to students.