Registering defeats the purpose
So, What's my Point?
While I have penned this column for almost three years, I've never felt the need to write about the quirks of the institution across the street. Saint Mary's (and the world in general) has never left me lacking new fodder for this column.
However, a few days ago The Observer reported that the Progressive Student Alliance was going to be put on probation through next fall because of failing to register a demonstration.
Apparently, some of the members of the PSA were passing out leaflets at the Junior Parents Weekend Mass. The leaflets concerned the University of Notre Dame's not-quite-exemplary stance on sweatshops. They also urged the University to take a tougher stand.
Before I continue, I would like to say right off that I am not a member of the PSA (so don't blame them) and don't know anybody or anything about the situation aside from what I read in The Observer.
However, I read that article, and I had a question. My question is this: How, exactly, does one "register" a demonstration? In my limited existence, I've never heard of that particular concept, so I'm looking to the University to enlighten me.
I mean because (and I'm just wondering here) in ordinary parlance, people usually demonstrate against something or someone, hoping that the aforementioned something or someone will change its policies in the way that the demonstrators desire. In this case, the PSA was effectively demonstrating against the University because of its sweatshop policies, and passing out fliers to those who might have some influence on the institution.
And the University wanted them to register?
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but usually when someone registers, they're effectively asking for permission to do whatever it is they are registering to do. In the case of a demonstration, this might possibly cause some difficulty.
I mean, just imagine if Rosa Parks had decided to "register" her protest at City Hall (or wherever it is that they register demonstrations).
PARKS: Hi. I've come to register. Because, you see, I'm planning on not giving up my seat to whites tomorrow afternoon in protest of the segregation system. Now, where can I register to do that?
CITY HALL: Oh, come on in. Sit down, and fill out this form. Write down what you're going to be protesting against, and how and where.
PARKS: Ok, thanks.
CITY HALL: And we'll be around tomorrow to arrest you. Have a nice day, and thanks for registering your demonstration against us first! If you have any suggestions on how we can make the demonstration registration process any better, please write us from jail.
Or, say that those folks who demonstrated against the draft in the Vietnam War decided to haul themselves over to a government office to register. This might, possibly, have affected their demonstration, there might not have been one, because they might all have been stopped from having the protest.
Nakasha Ahmad is a senior at Saint Mary's. Her column appears every other Monday.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, April 17, 2000