An award for the courageous and brilliant young journalists at the Irish Rover, the independent student newspaper at Notre Dame in South Bend (Indiana)–for bringing out something embarrassing. As Rover editor-in-chief W. Joseph DeReuil reported last Wednesday that Notre Dame sociology professor Tamara Kay sought to make abortion accessible to students at Notre Dame’s university following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling.
Kay’s office had a sign that read: “This safe space is for all health-care issues and access — confidentially and with compassion.”
Students can access “morning after” abortions, which are not illegal under Indiana law but are not available by campus health services. They also have access to “Plan C” pills that work for up to 12 weeks. Kay was confronted by the Roverfollowing an university panel titled “Post America. Making Intersectional Feminist Sensitivity of Abortion Bans.” Kay stated, “Abortion is a policy issue for me.” My view is contrary to Church teaching. However, in other areas my position is perfectly aligned with the Church’s.
Kay has since removed the sign from her door and her Notre Dame email auto-generates this lunatic response.
Dear Friends and Colleagues: The Notre Dame police monitor and curate this email account. It may take a little longer for me to get back with you. My academic work on reproductive rights and justice has been criticized by white-nationalist Catholic hate groups. However, ND supports academic freedom. Please visit my website below if you are curious. Have a great day!
The Rover has repeatedly asked for answers from the university public relations and legal teams.
A Notre Dame Law School alumnus, who goes by the name “Eudaimonia”, on Twitter , reported on an upcoming panel. The panel, which is held under the auspices LGBT Law Forum, is called “Decriminalizing Sexual Work” and features a “law-student sexual worker.”
Notre Dame: What is the matter? It is clear that large swathes of faculty and administration have sold Notre Dame’s Catholic identity for the pottages of liberal acceptance, prestige, and money. The university’s president, Father John Jenkins, exemplifies both the self-deprecation and pusillanimity of Notre Dame leaders. Jenkins presented the Culture of Death Champion, Barack Obama in 2009 to Jenkins. He bestowed the Laetare Medal on Joe Biden (another abortion supporter) American Catholicism’s highest honour, in 2016. We hope the liberal head-pats were worth it, Father.
The deeper reason lies in the generational crisis that has afflicted Catholic education. Leading Catholic educators, including then-Notre Dame President Theodore M. Hesburgh, declared themselves free from “authority of any kind, lay or clerical,” in what was known as the Land O’Lakes Statement. The position paper was adopted at a meeting in Land O’Lakes in Wisconsin.
This bold assertion of authority was completely against the Catholic university’s ancient precepts. The classical tradition of Catholic education held that educators were responsible for helping students love what is good and hate what is wrong. It also recognized the unique role of the Church in humankind’s divinely appointed guide in this area. In this telling, free inquiry and free speech weren’t absolute masters. They were servants that needed to be controlled to produce good results.
Signatories of Land O’Lakes sought to free themselves from these precepts and were amazed at the results. Many Catholic universities, including Notre Dame, have “liberal arts” that mirror the technocratic blandness and narrow specialization of secular counterparts. The moral degradation is not to be overlooked. An older generation of Catholic academics, not just a few timid conservatives at Notre Dame but also Catholic academics from the Church, assert that more freedom and more inquiry are the solution.
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Young, orthodox Catholics are seeing past the academic-freedom scam and demand more. Last week, DeReuil, the Rovereditor in chief, wrote an editorial:
The same [academic freedom] line has been repeatedly used against supporting the Catholic mission at the university and encouraging the campus’ religious ethos.
The Rover reported this fall that Notre Dame sells…sexualized children’s books in her bookstore. She must also allow professors to assist students with abortions ….
This curation shows hypocritical and unequal academic freedom. It is a source of justifiable anger.
Evidently, it is not possible to allow all views. Some restrictions on speech — even at highly protected universities — are necessary for a vibrant community.
Notre Dame’s present is utterly depressing. However, the future holds hope.