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Notre Dame Student Paper Prints Cartoon Advocating Gay Bashing



This is repulsive.

GLAAD reports:

"The cartoon depicted a conversation between two figures. The conversation read, 'What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?' 'No idea.' 'A baseball bat.' As many people know, 'fruit' is often used as a derogatory term for members of the LGBT community. This type of advocacy of anti-LGBT violence must stop. It isn’t funny. What’s more, it promotes hate crimes, which are all too prevalent in society today. The cartoonist had posted on his blog – though it’s since been removed – his original version of the cartoon. In the original version, it shows that the punchline read, 'AIDS' instead of 'A baseball bat.' The paper, he reported, preferred 'not to make light of fatal diseases.' The Observer made a dangerously misguided decision that promoting violence was somehow superior to making fun of HIV/AIDS. Both versions of the cartoon were abhorrent. GLAAD contacted The Observer immediately upon seeing this cartoon. The Editor in Chief Jenn Metz relayed a tearful and what appeared to be heartfelt apology by phone. She explained that she was not present when the decision to run this cartoon was made, and that she was incredibly upset that others on staff had made that decision."

A retraction and apology are reportedly forthcoming from the paper, and GLAAD has called upon the school's president to issue a statement condemning violence against gay people.

UPDATE: The paper has printed its apology. Read it, AFTER THE JUMP...

APOLOGY from NOTRE DAME independent paper THE OBSERVER

The editors of The Observer would like to publicly apologize for the publication of “The Mobile Party” in the Jan. 13 edition. The burden of responsibility ultimately lies on us for allowing it to go to print.

There is no excuse that can be given and nothing that can be said to reverse the damage that has already been done by this egregious error in judgment.

The Observer, though an independent newspaper, is representative of the community of the University of Notre Dame and the values it so cherishes: family, understanding, service, respect and love.

Allowing this cruel and hateful comic a place on our pages disgraced those values and severely hurt members of our Notre Dame family — our classmates, our friends. For this, we sincerely apologize.

Unfortunately, the language of hate is an everyday reality in our society. Earlier this week, surprising comments made by Sen. Harry Reid about President Barack Obama’s accent and skin color were made public and caused uproar. Now, at Notre Dame, a comic strip including hurtful language was printed in this publication, also causing — and rightly so — serious concern. It becomes clear that hurtful language is still present among some circles, and, too often, it’s not until comments like these become public that their true hatred is acknowledged.

The truth is, these comments should not be made at all, and we will not allow our pages to be a forum for such hatred. Publishing commentary that seems to encourage or support hate against fellow human beings is inexcusable.

We must, however more forward, and look to promote instead a culture of acceptance and support for all.

The Office of Student Affairs and the Gender Relations Center, as well as student groups like the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students, have worked tirelessly to foster an educated community and an environment of acceptance and love. We would ask that those currently working toward ending discourses of hate on campus continue to do so. We greatly thank you for your tireless effort.

On our part, we must practice more responsible journalism and editing. That this comic was published reveals holes in our editing practices, which are currently being addressed.

In reevaluating our policies, we hope to ensure The Observer will be able to recover from this low point in its almost 50-year history and once again be able to serve the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community with the dignity it deserves.

We would like to thank all of those who have called, e-mailed, written and visited our offices this week in outrage.

The content of “The Mobile Party” is in no way representative of the views and opinions of The Observer or the Editorial Board. We hope that as we work together to address this serious issue, we will be able to regain your trust.

We vow to continue to represent the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College in a way that is respectful and accepting of each member of our community.

Link to apology here.

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  1. Not suprising to see that a well-respected Catholic university is staying true to their mantra of hatred and bigotry. I think they learn this in Christian 101. Though I understand that Christian 102 gets even better.

    Posted by: Keith | Jan 15, 2010 7:50:38 AM

  2. This from a university that barely eight months ago made the news for their protest against Obama's speaking engagement on campus...does their Pope condone this, too
    Rachel Maddow, please interview tearful editor-in-chief!

    Posted by: shane | Jan 15, 2010 7:52:16 AM

  3. Well, guys, let's give them a call, a letter, or maybe a fax. Shall we?

    General Phone: (574) 631-7471
    General Fax: (574) 631-6927

    Postal Address
    The Observer
    P.O. Box 779
    Notre Dame, IN 46556

    Editor-in-Chief: Jenn Metz
    (574) 631-4542

    Managing Editor: Bill Brink
    (574) 631-4541

    Posted by: Mark (Marcito) | Jan 15, 2010 7:55:27 AM

  4. Perhaps a quick E-mail to the Observer...

    Viewpoint Desk
    (574) 631-5303

    Posted by: Mark (Marcito) | Jan 15, 2010 8:03:39 AM

  5. "The Observer is staffed by students from both Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College, the women's college located nearby. Unlike Scholastic and The Dome, The Observer is an independent publication and does not have a faculty advisor or any editorial oversight from the University. In 1987, when some students believed that The Observer began to show a conservative bias, a liberal newspaper, Common Sense was published. Likewise, in 2003, when other students believed that the paper showed a liberal bias, the conservative paper Irish Rover went into production. Neither paper is published as often as The Observer, however all three are distributed to all students."

    Posted by: mike | Jan 15, 2010 8:10:48 AM

  6. This is what Catholic people are like.

    If they didn't hate gays, they wouldn't be going to Notre Dame.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jan 15, 2010 8:13:57 AM

  7. Notre Dame does not this seriously at all.

    Doubt me?

    Call and ask about this.

    Phone: (574) 631-5000

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jan 15, 2010 8:22:03 AM

  8. One of the authors is a facebook fan of the Center of Civil and Human Rights, Notre Dame Law School. Irony?

    Posted by: Jason | Jan 15, 2010 8:23:05 AM

  9. I have been to Notre Dame to visit my brothers kids who went to school there. I was very impressed at how my nephew and nieces and there friends were with me being gay. I think this is a small group of small minded douche bags, who drink the Fox Tea Party cool aide.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Jan 15, 2010 8:23:57 AM

  10. See, the Christian's knew this would happen when the Matthew Shepard act was passed. We've taken away their right to preach what the Bible teaches...

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 15, 2010 8:28:01 AM

  11. My partner graduated from Notre Dame. His straight college roommate, who majored in divinity, officiated our commitment ceremony. They aren't all evil.

    But yeh, this cartoon is pretty repulsive. Not to mention amateurish! That little fucker should be expelled.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 15, 2010 8:31:27 AM

  12. Better to express outrage to the university than to the people who published the cartoon. ND employee Frances Shaeffer (sp?) oversees the Observer; her number: 574 631 9159.

    Posted by: TCW | Jan 15, 2010 8:36:02 AM

  13. Take the girl's apology and accept it. This is a reflection on a group of nasty, adolescent fools, not a university or a religion. We do not need to resort to hyperbole to get the point across that this behavior must be stopped.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jan 15, 2010 8:38:26 AM

  14. @TCW

    As I posted before you, The Observer is an independent publication, and there is no oversight from either Notre Dame or Saint Mary's College. In addition, the number you gave is for Frances L. Shavers, who is the Chief of Staff to the president of the Notre Dame, but her duties don't say anything about The Observer:

    Posted by: mike | Jan 15, 2010 8:59:38 AM

  15. @Landon Bryce

    I graduated from a Catholic university and worked on the newspaper for a time there (primarily doing theatre reviews) My student newspaper would have never published anything like this. Hell, they even had a gay and lesbian student group. And I wrote many papers with a gay and lesbian theme and there was no discrimination.

    Now the thing about Notre Dame is that it's known for it's athletics; athletics are very important. Testerone is probably every bit as much a fuel for this type of shit at Notre Dame as the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 15, 2010 9:13:24 AM

  16. Who are the cartoonists? Is it the names right above the cartoon?
    Colin Hofman
    Jay Wade
    and Lauren Rosemeyer
    (or am I wrong?)

    Shouldn't we also be directing our anger and shock at the cartoonist/s?

    Posted by: rob | Jan 15, 2010 9:14:30 AM

  17. When thse children get out into the real world and try to get employment in reputable companies, organisations and professions they will very quickly discover how things are outside of their ivory tower.

    Posted by: arch | Jan 15, 2010 9:21:34 AM

  18. Bullshit, Kev.

    There is a direct connection between the Pope saying we are a threat to creation and this. There is a reason why so many gaybashers are Catholic. There is a reason why Catholic Maggie Gallagher has devoted her life to our destruction.

    The Catholic Church is a force for tremendous evil, most notably in its continued rape of children. Anyone who has chosen a Catholic education in this century should be regarded as a hateful bigot who thinks kids deserved to be raped.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jan 15, 2010 9:21:53 AM

  19. At least a couple of commenters pointed out that The Observer is an independent publication. I doubt that these students pay the publication costs out of their own pockets.

    Whoever funds this rag should also be taken to task!

    Posted by: Todd | Jan 15, 2010 9:40:59 AM

  20. @MARK:
    I was given Frances's name by someone in Student Affairs at ND. Frances was identified as the person who "oversees the Observer".

    I'm inclined to rely on the university's own Student Affairs people, and in any case, if she's the CoS to the President, all the more reason to seek condemnation from her.

    Posted by: tcw | Jan 15, 2010 9:43:52 AM

  21. @Landon Bryce

    Slow your roll, dude.

    1) First of all, the Catholic University that I attended gave me an outstanding aid package...including a couple of scholarships. And I wqas in my 30's when that happened.

    2) My university was 60% female. And sports there were nowhere near what you will find at Notre Dame.

    3) There were a lot of non-Catholics that attended my school and there were even interfaith organizations within the school (and there was a gay student alliance as well). Postings for gay protest marches are regularly posted on the school bulletin boards (and you have to get permission to post them).

    And, yes, some of the professors that I had were priests. And some of the TA's were studying in the seminary. And I gayed up damn near EVERYTHING, including in my theology classes. (I majored in classics and was one course short of a English major.) At no time were my papers censored.

    I do not regret one bit the education that I received. And I worked for the student newspaper occasionally (doing theatre reviews, mostly) and at no time with the editors that I worked with would this have been acceptable.

    While I agree with you about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church generally and about ND specifically (there has always been an anti-gay element at Notre Dame) not all Catholic universities are like that.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 15, 2010 9:46:12 AM

  22. Incidentally, Andy, you should draw specific attention in your post to the three names associated with "The Mobile Party" cartoon. That way future employers who Google their names will have an accurate reflection of their character and judgment.

    Posted by: tcw | Jan 15, 2010 9:51:55 AM

  23. the worst part of this is that joke is over 20 years old! Me and my friends told it in high school in the 1980s, back when i was a scared-shitless closet case. And even then I never wouldve submitted it to be seen by the public.

    BTW, the non-homophobic answer is..."SQUASH a GRAPE"

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Jan 15, 2010 10:09:09 AM

  24. The authors have taken down their blog, which posts both versions of the strip and a revealing chat with an editor at the Observer.

    Still cached, of course:


    I see such a consistently belligerent attitude from even gay men who identify as Catholic (Andrew Sullicvan, even "cultural Catholic" Dan Savage) that I am offended by the suggestion that being Catholic, or going to Catholic school, is okay.

    It's not. Not today.

    The Church is a criminal conspiracy that exists to promote its own wealth and power. It still prefers to pay pensions to pedophile priests over court-ordered payments to their victims.

    Anyone who identifies as Catholic is identifying with a Church that excommunicated the mother of a nine-tear-old girl because she agreed to the abortion that saved the girl's life. And the Vatican confirmed that her "sin" was greater than that of the stepfather who raped the girl.

    That's what Catholicism is, Dude.

    Anyone who pretends otherwise is allowing kids to get raped.

    As one of those kids, I'm telling you: they are evil, nasty people. If they weren't, they'd have left that chruch by now.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jan 15, 2010 10:11:06 AM

  25. I sent a facebook message to Jenn Metz, the student editor-in-chief and got a very respectful message back from her. She directed me to the retraction and apology they published. She was mortified that this happened.

    Steps are being taken to adddress hate speech on the Notre Dame campus. I was struck by her maturity and quick response.

    Sounds like she's got some difficult conversations coming up. But, in my mind, those conversations would be fairly easy and would go something like this: ''re SO fired.' Maybe the cartoonist(s) will face some academic punishment? Expulsion?

    Posted by: Todd | Jan 15, 2010 10:27:54 AM

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