Notre Dame’s New Student Affairs Leader Plans Action on Gay Issues
The University of Notre Dame’s new vice president for student affairs says she will support the University’s Catholic identity but also intends to make the institution more welcoming to homosexual students, according to The Observer.
“[University President] Fr. John [Jenkins] has asked our office to look broadly at the services and support that we offer to our gay and lesbian student population on campus,” Erin Hoffmann Harding reportedly told The Observer.
Apparently Notre Dame’s student government is already working with University officials, especially regarding a student campaign to establish a “gay straight alliance” (GSA) at Notre Dame:
Student advocates of a GSA kept last year’s momentum going over the summer, [student president Brett] Rocheleau said. The group researched the backgrounds of alliances of several other universities to help in their mission to install a GSA at Notre Dame.
“Now that students are back they’re doing more focus groups and testing to talk to different students about it,” he said. “We’ll be involved in that process with Student Affairs, trying to work toward something that makes all LGBTQ students feel included.”
The Observer reports that Harding believes the GSA campaign highlights the need for “being welcoming and inclusive” at Notre Dame, but the article does not indicate whether she supports the student club, which her office is currently considering. Harding’s office is advised by the University’s Core Council for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Students, a committee of Notre Dame administrators and students.
According to Harding’s online bio, she has no apparent experience in student affairs aside from student activities while at Harvard Law School and as a business student at Notre Dame. Most recently she was Notre Dame’s associate vice president for strategic planning and special projects, after several years as a management consultant.