Students demonstrate over Nondiscrimination Policy

By The Beacon | February 27, 2013 9:00pm

By Kelsey Thomas

As the bell tower sounded noon this Thursday, more than 50 students marched out of St. Mary's Student Center and gathered in the academic quad in a peaceful protest over the absence of sexual orientation in the nondiscrimination policy.

Many students taped their mouths with purple tape to signify those on campus who are afraid to speak because of their sexual identity or orientation. Protesters also held signs saying "Jesus Doesn't Discriminate," "The Time for Tolerance is Now," and "Rise UP for Equality" among others. 

At 1:45, the group of students and faculty, which had swelled to 100, marched silently through campus, ending in front of Waldschmidt Hall where students removed the tape from their mouths and hummed "Amazing Grace." 

After no one from Waldscmidt Hall exited the building, the group marched to St. Mary's where they erupted in cheers and hugs. 

The protest is a continuation of a movement on campus dubbed "Redefine Purple Pride." One of the leaders of the movement and orchestrators of the protest, Shanay Healy, said she is ecstatic with the turnout.

"I feel so much energy coursing through me right now," Healy said.

After today, Healy said the Redefine Purple Pride group is going to take a break.

"We need to wait and give administration time to respond," Healy said. "But this whole movement has created an amazing community and it's not the end of Redefine Purple Pride."

Psychology professor Susan Baillet released her class early so students who wanted to could participate in the protest.

"I think this movement is addressing a very important movement and that is human rights," Baillet said.  

Senior Anne Rodwald said although she is in favor of rights for everyone, she does not support the protest.

"It's awesome to see students take a stand," she said, "but the Catholic Church being what it is cannot condone certain things."