We Cannot Turn Back

As another Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approaches, MSPS reflects on the dream at Notre Dame.

The other night I heard a community organizer from South Bend speak. They call him Brother Sage, a name he earned while serving as principal for a failing elementary school in East St. Louis, as he says “a neighborhood where kids wake up in the morning and gargle razor-water.”

Brother Sage recalled his teenage years in 1964, when a barber in his hometown in Ohio refused to cut the hair of African Americans. Yet, in the same breath, Brother Sage called for striving for peace among all communities.

I asked, “How do you attain peace? How can you build trust with the barber, or a community other than your own, that doesn’t share your beliefs?”

He replied, “Go outside your comfort-zone.”

What I really wanted him to tell me was, “well, it’s ABC…” but the truth is that there are no guidelines to overcoming the bitterness of bigotry. There are no guidelines for creating for a just society. There is no single way to engage with others who may not share your perspective, or may in fact, staunchly oppose it.

The reality is that individuals who agree with the barber in Ohio still exist.

The reality is that those elementary students who attended Brother Sage’s School were born into low-income housing, born into a system that secludes them from access to an equitable education, born into a generational cycle of poverty.

Desegregation and equal access to education – these are two of the issues that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life for but they are still prevalent today. How can we work towards making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for freedom and justice a reality?

Like Brother Sage said, one way to strive for peace is getting comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.

“As we walk, we must make the pledge
that we shall march ahead.
We cannot turn back.” – MLK

Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to Graduate school

First ask yourself, why?

  • Why are you interested in *fill in the blank*
  • Do research on different programs & career paths
  • Understand types of degrees
  • Network: Talk to mentors & graduates of the program you’re interested in


Narrow your search

  • Location & what that means for you (urban or rural?)
  • Institution type, size, diversity
  • Area of focus
  • Your budget, financial aid, & scholarships
  • Opportunities for professional development & travel funding
  • GRE requirements

Consider the program’s in’s & out’s

  • Program requirements – credits to graduate and length of program?
  • Study part-time or full-time
  • Faculty-student ratio
  • Faculty background & research interests
  • Institutional and community fit
  • Pay attention to application requirements (they are different per school)

The Interview

  • Prepare by researching the institution
  • Match your strengths to their needs
  • First impressions count – it all starts with hello
  • Understand who you are & why you are a good fit for their program
  • When answering questions be complete & concise

The Wait

  • This is the hardest part of the whole process

         “All things come to him who waits – provided he knows what he is waiting for…”

           – Woodrow T. Wilson

So now what?

  • Be optimistic!
  • Remember your recommenders – follow up throughout the entire process
  • Look at the whole package – review everything before making a decision
  • Don’t be afraid to say no if the program is no longer for you
  • Know what position you want to obtain after graduate school

Source: NASPA Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education

University of Notre Dame Discriminatory Harassment Reporting Procedure

MSPS seeks to provide a forum for the discussion of racial equity, on campus and beyond. What we ask of the students, faculty, and staff, is a willingness to enter into conversations that celebrate the backgrounds of all people and foster an inclusive community.

However, if you need to report an alleged incident of discrimination, there are policies and procedures in place to address these issues:

The University of Notre Dame believes in the intrinsic value of all human beings. It is, moreover, committed to the full, peaceable participation of all its members in the educational endeavor it fosters. Accordingly, the University prohibits discriminatory harassment by all administrators, faculty, staff, and students. The University is also committed to the free expression and advocacy of ideas and wishes to maintain the integrity of this commitment as well. (Office of Institutional Equity website)

♦ To see the University of Notre Dame’s reporting procedure on Discriminatory Harassment, click here.

Definition of Harassment: Harassment is any physical conduct that intentionally inflicts injury on the person or property of another, or any intentional threat of such conduct; any hostile, intentional, and persistent badgering, addressed directly at another, or group of others, that is intended to intimidate its victim(s) from any University activity; or any verbal attack, intended to provoke the victim to immediate physical retaliation.

Definition of Discriminatory Harassment: Conduct, as described above, constitutes discriminatory harassment, if it is accompanied by intentionally demeaning expressions concerning the race, gender, religion, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability of the victim(s). (Office of Institutional Equity website)

Every individual has the duty to report incidences of Discriminatory Harassment.

♦ Who Should I contact?

Students: If you need to report an alleged incident of discrimination, click here.

Faculty or Staff: Contact your manager, chair, dean, or Human Resources.

You may also report an alleged incident of discriminatory harassment to the Discriminatory Harassment Ombudsperson, Dwight King. The telephone number for the Ombudsperson is 631-3909.