Students and observers are reacting to a hand-painted sign, posted outside an academic hall at the University of Notre Dame, bearing the words “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands.” The sign implicates Catholic student journalists, faculty, and alumni for the deaths of people who identify as queer.
According to the Irish Rover, the sign appeared outside DeBartolo Hall, close to the football stadium, the week of Sept. 19. Campus police have since removed it.
In addition to its message painted in blood red, the sign includes pasted articles clipped from The Irish Rover and the Observer, two student publications, that reflect Catholic doctrine on human sexuality, along with pictures of people nationwide who identify as queer and have been killed or committed suicide.
The names of the student journalists, as well as the names of other students, faculty, and alumni of Notre Dame are circled in red paint.
Though the sign itself was anonymous, the Observer newspaper on Sept. 30 published an op-ed by Audrey Lindemann, a Notre Dame junior who, in the form of a poem, said the Catholic student publication’s “ivory tower theology slit my loved ones’ throats.”
The op-ed bore the same title as the sign: “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands.”
“Irish Rover / your cowardly pontification is a cultural bullet at the gay massacre,” it reads in part.
“You burned us / you beat us in alleys / you watched us die of AIDS,” it continues.
The Observer also included a video of the student reading her poem while another student in the background beats the hand-painted sign to pieces with a crowbar.
The student also called out Students for Child Oriented Policy, a campus group that hosts events related to Catholic teaching on the family.
The Irish Rover reportedly reached out to student government leaders, asking them to “formally disavow and condemn the message sent by whoever put this post up.”
Student Body President Elizabeth Boyle has declined to comment on the matter, the Rover reported.
“To the Rover leadership, the unauthorized sign was perceived as an attempt to silence the paper and the presentation of Catholic teaching on controversial issues, and as harassment towards all of the people involved, especially to those whose names were circled in blood-red paint,” student journalist Nicolas Abouchedid wrote Sept. 26.
“It was an unmistakable attempt to scare those with differing views (Catholic views, in this case) into silence.”
“Accordingly, harassment reports were filed to the Notre Dame Police Department and directly to the university through SpeakUp.”
Notre Dame spokesman Paul Browne on Monday responded to a request for comment from the National Review.
“When the sign was first displayed on campus, it was quickly taken down by the Notre Dame Police Department. A subsequent request for permission to display the sign on campus was denied by the university,” Browne told the Review.
The university has not yet released an official statement on the matter.