University’s New “Catholic” President Wants to Expel Catholic Students (“Catholic Jihadis”) and Downplay the University’s Catholic Identity, Because “Catholic Doesn’t Sell”

University’s New “Catholic” President Wants to Expel Catholic Students (“Catholic Jihadis”) [and Downplay the University’s Catholic Identity, Because “Catholic Doesn’t Sell”]

Posted by Tancred

Emmitsburg, Md., Feb 11, 2016 / (Catholic News Agency).- Amid uproar over comparing struggling students to bunnies that should be drowned or shot, Mount St. Mary’s University president is now under fire for criticizing expressions of the Catholic faith at the school.

Already facing turmoil, the second-oldest Catholic university in the country is now seeing alumni and former faculty members publicly expressing their concerns over President Simon Newman’s disparaging remarks about the college’s Catholic identity – even reportedly calling some students “Catholic jihadis.”

Thane Naberhaus, a tenured professor who was recently fired from the Maryland university, told CNA that the president wanted to downplay the school’s Catholic identity because, in his words, “Catholic doesn’t sell.”

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6 comments on “University’s New “Catholic” President Wants to Expel Catholic Students (“Catholic Jihadis”) and Downplay the University’s Catholic Identity, Because “Catholic Doesn’t Sell”

  1. Sad and beyond absurd. The bishop and the board should be ashamed for bringing such a monster into Catholic education.

    Don’t be fooled. Lower-class Brits are notorious for being crass, vulgar, and rude to Americans and since they come from a post-Christian secular culture drowning in Social Darwinism and materialism they are completely unfamiliar with authentic Catholic values.

  2. One would have to wonder where these creeps come from and whether they even believe in God and the four last things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. To think that Almighty God would welcome them into His Presence is hard to believe. So, what, if anything, do they have to look forward to? The conclusion I must come to is that they just don’t care.

  3. Apparently, by way of Cambridge and Stanford’s MBA program.

    It’s an old lesson from Plato and the encounters with the ancient sophists. Protagoras and Thrasymachus. The belief that having a lot of money or certain skills in business qualify one to be in charge of Catholic education is absurd and had already been shown to be problematic down in Florida when another unqualified control freak from McCorporate Mammonland was running a Catholic university. It seems peculiar that an entire board of a venerated Catholic college would fall for such sophistry. Running a business or a business school is not the same as running a Catholic university. Students are not at-will employees and a university president should not be a dictator. Does he even know what “collegial” means?

    Actually pressuring students wrestling with depression or emotional or psychological issues to drop out during their first semester in college after taking a survey – in order to improve retention rate statistics in prestige ranking games – is probably some type of civil rights violation and sounds a bit Orwellian. Quite outside of what any “Catholic” institution should be doing. There are also other ways to integrate pre-professional and vocational training into coursework or majors without trying to eliminate Catholic identity, crucifixes, or liberal arts. They need to fix this fast. People can already go to Georgetown if they are looking for a fake Catholic college that has sold its soul to Lucifer and the world.

    This is just too absurd.

    Ἄκουε δή, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς. φημὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ εἶναι τὸ δίκαιον οὐκ ἄλλο τι ἢ τὸ τοῦ κρείττονος συμφέρον. (“Listen—I say that justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger.”)
    Plato’s Thrasymachus

  4. Mount St. Mary’s University head seeks to soften Catholic image, says “Catholic doesn’t sell”

    by Joseph Pelletier • ChurchMilitant • February 12, 2016

    EMMITSBURG, Md. – The head of a Catholic university in Maryland is facing criticism for belittling the school’s Catholic identity.

    Simon Newman, president of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, is coming under fire for allegedly working to undermine the Catholicity of the liberal arts college by openly criticizing faithful students, employees and school tradition.

    Multiple students, faculty and alumni have reported Newman referring to more traditional students as “Catholic jihadis” and saying Mount St. Mary’s would not “get customers to come” if the school continued marketing itself as a Catholic university, as “Catholic doesn’t sell.”

    According to David McGinley, a member of the school’s College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board and university alumnus, Newman would repeatedly make “derogatory comments towards Mount students,” including statements insinuating students who had been homeschooled were “judgmental” and may cause “trouble” for fellow freshmen who party.

    McGinley claims Newman shows “a lack of appreciation for or desire to continue or further Catholic identity in any regards to what one would call traditional.” The president seems to believe, McGinley continues, that “Catholicism has lost its relevance.”

    A current administrative employee who preferred to remain anonymous asserts that Newman commented there were “too many bleeding crucifixes” in the employee’s office. “I have a broken crucifix, and I have a crucifix that is done in limestone sculpture,” the employee explained.

    Reports from other members of the faculty assert Newman has repeatedly denigrated the crucifix and has a bad habit of using profanity.

    Professor Thane Naberhaus, who was recently fired from his tenured position at the university, notes the school website’s main page does not mention anywhere that Mount St. Mary’s is a Catholic university. “That is Simon Newman’s vision for Mount Saint Mary’s right there, encapsulated in that one webpage,” Naberhaus asserts.

    The former professor also admits to having heard Newman call students “Catholic jihadis.”

    “He was kind of dividing up our student body and seeing a certain fraction of them,” Naberhaus said. “He seemed to think that there was a sizeable fraction of our campus that fell into that camp, Catholic jihadis, and I never was sure exactly what he meant by that, but he was definitely using that phrase.”

    Naberhaus’ removal from the Mount St. Mary’s faculty is part of an ongoing scandal involving Newman that began in late January. In an article concerning the president’s plan to dismiss around 25 freshman based on survey results that predicted they would not be successful at the school, the student-run school newspaper Mountain Echo quoted Newman’s response to faculty who didn’t believe survey results justified removal from the school. According to the newspaper, Newman answered, “There will be some collateral damage.”

    Further into the meeting, the Mountain Echo reports that Newman remarked, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”

    Following outrage among the faculty and student body over the remarks, Professor Ed Egan, acting as the newspaper’s adviser, was fired. Professor Naberhaus was also let go, charged in his letter of dismissal with disloyalty to the university.

    In a message sent to students following the removal of the two teachers, the school failed to offer an explanation for the firings, but instead asserted the school leadership has “a plan in place to be certain that the classes for which they were responsible will be taught by other qualified faculty and the students will be advised by well-qualified people.”

    A few days earlier the provost of the university was removed from his position after raising concerns about Newman’s plan to eliminate students based on the survey.

    Around 75 alumni have written a public letter to the university decrying their recent behavior and calling the current condition an “atmosphere of hostile takeover.”

    The university has not publicly spoken concerning the claims that Newman is attacking the Catholic identity of the school.

    UPDATE: Mount St. Mary’s Reinstates 2 Professors — but One Says He’s Not Going Back

    February 12, 2016 by Andy Thomason in The Chronicle of Higher Education

    The president of Mount St. Mary’s University has reinstated the two faculty members who were fired for disloyalty this week, according to a statement from the institution on Friday afternoon.

    But one of those faculty members — Thane M. Naberhaus, a tenured associate professor of philosophy — said he would not accept the college’s offer. “Hell no,” Mr. Naberhaus said in response to an email asking if he would agree to the reinstatement. “Not going back until he’s gone,” he said, referring to the university’s embattled president, Simon P. Newman.

    “We will work to implement the initiatives we agree are important for our student’s future and our university’s future,” Mr. Newman said in a news release. “And most importantly eliminate the feelings of fear and injustice that any may be harboring, work through our misunderstandings, and make a new beginning as a unified team. You have my solemn commitment to work together to restore our relationship and our school.”

    In the statement, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, the Rev. Kevin Farmer, said the board “continues to support” Mr. Newman. He added: “We embrace his vision for the future of the university and believe he is the best person to carry it out. We have every desire to resolve the tension on campus and move forward together.”

  5. [Cardinal] Newman Society Statement on Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.

    February 12, 2016 | By CNS Staff | Editorial

    The Catholic identity of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., is its foundation, its motivation and its greatest treasure. Commitment to authentic and faithful Catholic education must be preserved — and even strengthened, as it was over the past decade — for the good of its students, faculty, staff and alumni.
    As recently as last year, The Cardinal Newman Society enthusiastically recommended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. (“the Mount”), in our Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for its strong Catholic identity. We have repeatedly, and very recently, reported on outstanding teaching and practices at the Mount. Nevertheless, we are carefully observing the developments described in recent media reports (including the selection linked at the bottom of this statement), and we find these to be disappointing and even disturbing. Certain facts seem clear, while other troubling claims are unsubstantiated but repeated by several individuals. We invite Catholics to pray for a good outcome.
    The Cardinal Newman Society is currently engaged in our standard annual review of Newman Guide colleges for the next edition of the Guide. Our attention to the Mount is heightened due to the leadership transition (now including not only President Simon Newman, who is less than a year into his position, but also the provost and liberal arts dean) and the recent concerns. Adding to our dismay about information coming from media reports and our own private communications with individuals associated with the University, the Mount has declined thus far to provide the required annual information needed for recommendation in The Newman Guide. These include questions regarding the mandatum for theology professors, integration of Catholic teaching across the curriculum, residence policies for students and the University president’s required Oath of Fidelity. Our content deadline was December 31, but we have offered President Newman an extension until February 28, after which we will be unable to recommend the Mount.
    President Newman has attracted nationwide criticism of his now acknowledged proposal to weed out young students based on a presumed likelihood that they would not perform well academically. It is the position of The Cardinal Newman Society that any plan to weed out matriculated students without first providing substantial assistance and demonstrating a sincere commitment to the students’ personal formation and well-being would be contrary to a university’s Catholic identity. Student formation in mind, body and soul is the essence of faithful Catholic education, and at a Catholic university, no financial concern or desire for secular prestige should supplant the University’s core purposes. We hope that the reaction to this plan has convinced the leadership to find other ways to improve its retention statistics, including genuine efforts to support and retain admitted students.
    Of even greater concern to The Cardinal Newman Society, President Newman has fired several University leaders and professors, some of whom have been key to the Mount’s greatly strengthened Catholic identity over the past decade. The University says they violated ethical obligations, including a requirement to be loyal to the institution. The faculty adviser to the student newspaper, which revealed President Newman’s proposal to dismiss students, was also fired. We may never know the details of such private employment decisions, and we respect the authority of a university president to hire employees who best serve the university’s mission. Nevertheless, the loss of leaders and professors who seemed to best exemplify and promote the Mount’s Catholic mission is disturbing and does real harm to the University.
    We were delighted to learn today that President Newman has reinstated two of those employees who were fired, including the student newspaper adviser and a philosophy professor who raised concerns about Catholic identity, although the latter professor has reportedly declined unless President Newman resigns. We hope that resolutions can be found for those who were fired, and if not, then we will be looking for a similar commitment and witness from those who are selected to replace them.
    Finally, we are deeply concerned by multiple but yet unsubstantiated claims that President Newman has expressed a desire to diminish the celebration of Catholic identity in the Mount’s marketing materials because he believes that Catholic identity is ineffective in recruiting students. That is a debatable presumption; much of Catholic higher education is struggling after decades of secularization, while the newest Catholic colleges in the United States are vibrantly Catholic and have no fears about marketing that fact. A university that is fully committed to its Catholic mission will not hide it. Instead, it will strive to convince others that its Catholic identity is reason for celebration and the very heart of the best sort of education, which it certainly is.
    Furthermore, we believe that marketing Catholic identity is ultimately necessary to living Catholic identity. Public presentation tends to influence personality over time; we become what we claim to be, and what we hide is gradually diminished in importance and value.
    Over the past decade, the Mount has excelled under leadership that made faithful Catholic education the top priority and chief objective of the University. There was neither embarrassment about nor diminishment of the Mount’s Catholic identity, but celebration and a spirit of pride in the great heritage of America’s second-oldest Catholic university.
    This is the vision of Father John Dubois, who founded Mount St. Mary’s University in 1808. “I have been enabled to procure a spot and to begin the erection of a building for a college and ecclesiastical seminary,” he wrote, “for we must not imagine that without such an establishment we can obtain truly apostolic men, mighty in work and word before God and all the people.”
    It is the vision of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, for whom Father Dubois celebrated Mass on the hallowed grounds of the Mount, and who established the first Catholic girls’ school in America in Emmitsburg.
    We pray and hope that this vision persists at the Mount, in its teaching, curriculum, campus life and even in the public ways the University is marketed to donors and prospective students. Deliberate efforts to preserve and strengthen Catholic identity are essential to continuing the mission of the University and its continued obligation to God, the Catholic Church and the families who entrust their sons and daughters to the University’s care.

  6. There is an important issue involved. How does someone who is himself not a product of American Catholic higher education and who comes from a different culture claim authority over it for changing its nature and direction?
    A Stanford MBA and a Cambridge degree from the UK do not confer expertise on Catholic education. Neither does a career in financial speculation. Moreover, the bishop in question on the board does not even ensure that the Catholic schools within his diocese teach Catholic doctrine properly, have Catholic faculties, or follow Catholic canon law, including yet another heretical fake Catholic university in his diocese which tramples over Catholic tradition and the rights of Catholic students to a Catholic education. Keep digging. The problems go much deeper. What clowns on the board, puffed up by the Land O’Lakes conference agenda for secularizing Catholic colleges and universities, approved of this silly episode and anti-Catholic circus? This is the Twilight Zone of modernist education!

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