Fall Break Rejuvenate and Reflect



Sunday, most ND students left campus after watching an exhilarating game between ND and USC despite the rain. Some were homebound for rest, home cooked meals and socializing with family members; others opted to remain on campus or participate in one of the numerous seminars offered by the Center for Social Concerns. ND students give generously of their time and talents to help those deemed   disenfranchised, while on campus or during breaks.

BA ND Dinner 2 Fall 2013BBA ND Dinner Fall 2013A

Throughout my tenure at Notre Dame, I have been impressed by the students who take advantage of the CSC seminars or volunteer opportunities within the targeted communities.  Those who experience a true immersion view these events as a chance to partner with the communities to help and learn from the residents.  Several ND students shared how they were graciously welcomed into the homes of residents, where stories of celebration and trials were shared.  The students emerged enlighten, more appreciative of their lot in life and with a deeper understanding of the phase “but by the Grace of God.”

When we are in these situations and in a contemplative mood, how are our personal values challenged? Do they supersede what we are witnessing or experiencing? Do they shift, because our worldview has been augmented? Or are we kinder, because we realize the world is “bigger than us?”  Does this challenge us to take a stance that would positively affect not only those we feel are in need; but also our peers?

Whether you are in Appalachia, Chicago, Home under the Dome, or with family, think about what you stand for, who has “your back” and whose “back” do you have? Monday, November 4 begins the GRC’s Stand Against Hate week campaign.  The theme covers a variety of discriminations from economic to gender to racial issues.  In support of this effort, the November 6 Interrace Forum will address “The Power of Kindness” at 5:30 p.m. in the Coleman Morse Student Lounge.  Please rsvp to join us for dinner and discussion at msps@nd.edu with Interrace in the subject line.

November is filled with lectures and events hosted by MSPS and student groups. The month begins with Black Images, a talent show, on November 2 following the Navy game; Asian Allure, talent and cultural fashion show, November 8 & 9 in Washington Hall. University of Baltimore Law School Professor F. Michael Higginbotham will discuss “Ending Racism in “Post Racial” America” on November 14.  The Native American Students of Notre Dame are sponsoring several events in honor of Native American Heritage Month. Watch for more information in regard to these and other activities.

As we prepare to give thanks for our blessings, remember to offer deep appreciation for the opportunity to expand our horizons and perspectives.


Iris L. Outlaw

Iris L. Outlaw `90 MSA


Multicultural Student Programs and Services

Ethnic History 365 Days

Thank you to Carter G. Woodson for creating Negro History Week in 1926, which evolved into Black History Month in 1976.  MSPS believes the contributions of African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Native American should be celebrated year-round, not just in a relegated month. Therefore, our programming reflects this philosophy by inviting scholars, experts and lectures based on the series theme and not their race or ethnicity.  Our goal is to educate the Notre Dame community by exposing the students to voices or perspectives that are normally not included in scholarly dialogues.  Thus the paradigm is shifted and so is our worldview.

In highlighting the African Diaspora and issues that impact all historically underrepresented groups, the February Interrace Forum titled We Are ND…Aren’t We? Call to Action: Do Race and Class Affect Inclusion? began a challenging discussion. American Studies Professor and Executive Director for the Institute for Latino Studies, Tim Matovina addressed the topic in the context of religion. The lively conversation that ensued forced the undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to reflect on their respective perceptions of the face of God and how God calls us to interact with others. This was an inspiring way to begin our Black History Month Celebration.


The continuation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Study of Race Series Playing with Fire II Race and Sport in American Culture resumed with Dr. Adrian Burgos, Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana. Professor Richard Pierce and Dr. Burgos conversed on the theme, “Latinos in the Negro League.” Professor Pierce poised questions that uncovered the collective integration of American Baseball and sports and unknown historical facts.  Tuesday, February 19 Professor Pierce will engage Ms. Wendy Lewis, Senior Vice President of Diversity and Strategic Alliances at Major League Baseball, on “The Past, Present, and Future of Race in Professional Baseball.” Their conversation will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Eck Visitor Center Auditorium with a reception following.





Kudos to the Black Student Association for the Blacks at Notre Dame Exhibit in the Hesburgh Library corridor. The history spans from the first African American to current students.  During Junior Parents Weekend, the Black Cultural Arts Council successfully hosted their annual Coffeehouse on Friday, February 15. The serenity of poetry, music and fine art filled the La Fortune Ballroom. Proceeds were applied to BCAC’s Thurgood Marshall Scholarship. Congratulations to the 2013 Thurgood Marshall Scholarship winners Ms. Olivia Mitchell and Mr. Steven Waller. These exceptional first-year students have been actively involved with BCAC and within the Notre Dame Community.

Thursday, February 21, the Gender Relations Center, MSPS and Walsh Hall are hosting “RACEing into Relationships”, a luncheon addressing interracial relationships. Arnel Bulaoro-MSPS, Emmanuel Cannady –GRC, and LaTonia Ferguson – Human Resources will share their insights from 12:30 p.m. -1:30 p.m. in the Coleman Morse Lounge. Lunch from Jimmy Johns will be provided.

The month will conclude with Shades of Ebony sponsoring their annual “BeaUtiful You” symposium for local middle and high school female students on February 28th.  The workshops will focus on creating positive self-image and establishing meaningful relationships between young women.

Do not hesitate to contact MSPS (msps@nd.edu or call 574-631-6841) regarding any event. Unless designated they are free and open to the public.

How do we reach a critical mass for racial equity on campus?

How do we reach and organize the critical “critical mass” of fully invested students, faculty, and staff in the fight for racial equity on our campuses?

  1. Dismantle privilege.
  2. Continue to acquire knowledge.
  3. Embrace and encourage change.

This fight for racial equity—by which I mean the solidarity and struggle of an elite multi-generational and multicultural team of students and professionals in the pursuit of the full and equal access and participation of all races and communities of people in the fair and equitable attainment of higher educational outcomes—is not for everybody.

The fight for racial equity is not an equal opportunity endeavor. If it was, there wouldn’t be such a specific, dire, critical need for racial equity projects in American higher education in the first place.

Rather, what I am interested in is the movement’s critical mass: the minimum required amount of human capital to create a new system of radical racial equity on our university campus.

As I understand things, we have not reached a critical mass in the fight for racial equity yet for a few reasons:

  • Relative (though in no way universal) racial and socio-economic privilege and advantage among dominant, majority groups often prevents an understanding and valuing of the dire urgency for racial equity.
  • Honest lack of knowledge and skillsets in the practice of oppression theory, critical race theory, and liberation theology by administrators, faculty, and staff prohibits fully institutionally-organized racial equity efforts.
  • Real and understandable fear of the challenge of radical, institutional and campus change can undermine the pursuit of racial equity.

Privilege, lack of knowledge, and fear.

So what does it take to overcome these barriers and to identify and organize the critical mass of individuals for whom the fight for racial equity is necessary to bring about significant change and development to campus?

These are vague beginnings:

  • Dismantle privilege. We need desperately to increase the number of students, faculty, and staff who can articulate opposition to the racial privilege and caste systemthat has dominated the political and socio-economic foundation of higher education in our country for the past 400 years.
    • Formal and informal (but always purposeful) cross- and intra-group discussion.
    • Development of thoughtful new programs (in replace of the old) to dismantle the system of privilege on our campus. These programs will do as much to address the eradication of legacy admissions, traditional staff hiring practices, and faculty tenure processes as they will to undo policies related to leadership position appointments, mentoring and career services outcomes, and facilities and residence hall organization. The mission of these new programs should, in fact, be: “To fully dismantle the inequitable system of privilege across our entire campus.
  • Acquire knowledge. This does notrefer to cultural competency or passive mentoring about tolerance and difference. Rather, the knowledge necessary for the movement for racial equity is a deep, life-long, foundational learning process about systemic oppression, critical race, and liberation, as well as thoughtful racial identity development.
    • Increase dramatically the numbers of students, faculty, and staff who participate in these schools of thought through new hires, new tenures, and new admissions procedures.
    • Establish purposeful personal and professional development programs for the continued investment in the racial equity skills of our campus leaders.
    • Fully integrate and organize students and professionals equipped with this knowledge into fundamental positions throughout the structure of the university.
  • Embrace change. Do not fear change. We must fight for change. We need to recognize in the deepest of our hearts that the campus must change, and radically, in order to build the kind of college environment that true and just racial equity demands.

Tradition, by this recognition, is a significant barrier to racial equity by virtue of the obvious diametrically opposed realities of tradition and change.

  • New programs and services must significantly embody the transparent call for change and in very many, if not all, cases must competently and thoughtfully oppose campus traditions. This will mean the eradication of tradition-focused programs, as well as the thoughtful integration of new and more integrated educational programs for racial equity.

At an institutional level—and at a personal level—if we can start with these three broad approaches to campus racial equity, we might begin to assemble the necessary critical mass to create the kind of institutions we want to create.