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Notre Dame Protesters Already Heard Both Sides

Notre Dame Protesters Already Heard Both Sides

A group of Notre Dame students left their own commencement ceremony in protest of its guest speaker, Mike Pence.

Good on them.

There’s a predictable push to chide the protesters as close-minded, dismissing contradicting opinions out of hand. But Pence is the vice president of the United States, and before that, he was the governor of Indiana. For years, students in South Bend have heard what Pence has to say, not just in the abstract but in vicious, discriminatory policy. Pence is a monster with a megaphone, and to treat him as some unfairly silenced victim of the mean left is transparently absurd.

Notre Dame is a very Catholic institution, and its politics tend to skew farther right than most colleges (though there’s room for nuance!). This makes the protests a pleasant surprise, but it also helps to explain them. Its students have been living in Pence’s Indiana even before Trump’s America, and their campus has been conservative even before that. The students who protested weren’t rejecting new ideas. They were rejecting the same old ones, said again and again and again.

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In a perfect world, I’d be a professor who teaches poetry using episodes of mediocre sci-fi procedurals, but for now, I’m just a tutor who watches a lot of TV. I got my BA from Kalamazoo College in English with a focus on creative writing, and someday soon I’d like to go back to academia.

Most of my formal teaching training was as a creative writing TA, but I’ve used those skills professionally more to tutor math and write data entry training materials. And though I’d like to focus my work on what I’m really passionate about (which is Netflix binges and outdated video games, mostly), it’s the craft of teaching and writing that keeps me coming back. That’s why I’m excited to be a part of High Faluter: I’m finding that academia doesn’t just stay in academia. And if I can bring crappy midbrow entertainment into academia too, well, all the better. You can find me on Twitter: @StewartFinnegan

(Illustration of Mike Pence. Courtesy of DonkeyHotey.)


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