Professors Lobby [University of] Notre Dame on Sexual Orientation with Full-Page Ad
Earlier this year, a group of University of Notre Dame faculty and staff drafted a letter in support of the “LGBTQ community” at Notre Dame, after the University announced it would not add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination clause despite pressure from some student groups and faculty.
Now, a petition signed by 366 Notre Dame faculty, administration and staff was published yesterday in the campus newspaper as a full page ad urging the university to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination clause.
The letter said, in part:
“We value the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning members of our community exactly as we do all those who are part of the Notre Dame family. As faculty and staff, we affirm that our offices and classrooms will be safe and open spaces, where anti-LGBTQ discrimination, harassment, or violence will not be tolerated… We applaud the recent efforts of Notre Dame to create a more welcoming and safe environment for all. We encourage the University to continue its progress by joining with the City of South Bend, our sister college St. Mary’s, and other Catholic colleges and institutions across the country to make the protection, recognition, and equal treatment of the LGBTQ members of our family an official part of University policy.”
In an interview last month with the student newspaper, Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., told The Observer that Notre Dame doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But he said that if Notre Dame were to alter its nondiscrimination clause, it could “undermine our ability to live in accordance with the Catholic teaching because we distinguish between orientation and action.”
He did, however, cryptically add that it’s time for the university to take “a fresh look” at issues relating to LGBT students.
In the 1970s, the percentage of self-identifying Catholic faculty at Notre Dame was reportedly as high as 85 percent. That number has since plummeted to around 54.2 percent in 2007.