Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are fighting for their reputations. The New York Times reported on Tuesday:

… Friday afternoon … it was revealed that four football players — all probable starters — were suspected of being among several students who had cheated in class. …

The issue is also notable because Notre Dame football stands apart in many ways. It is the only university that commands its own network television deal. It has the only major program that remains independent. And it demands unusually rigorous academic performance compared with other top programs. …

Notre Dame announced Friday in a statement that four players were being held out of practice and competition, though not suspended, pending an investigation into “suspected academic dishonesty,” including submitting “papers and homework that had been written for them by others.” The university also notified the N.C.A.A. and pledged to vacate any tainted wins — which could include some from its 2012 season, its most successful in nearly two decades.

The penance on this one could be tough, very tough.

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AOL News reports the story of two Nevada twins who share more than a common DNA signature:

For identical twins Gabby and Maria Munoz-Robles being co-valedictorians was just another thing to do together.

KTVN reports: “We would switch seats in some classes just to play a joke on the teacher. We always study together. We do the same sports; we do the same extracurricular activities.”

For the nearly inseparable twins, being named co-valedictorians wasn’t even a surprise – The Record-Courier reports it was all part of the plan.

CBS reports: “We were shooting to be co-valedictorians. It came just down to this last semester, and we tied, so we knew that it was going to happen.”

The twins from Minden, Nevada, each earned a 4.54 grade point average. Maria told The Record-Courier:

“A lot of people want us to be separate, but we enjoy it. When we give each other hugs, I feel like I’m hugging myself.”

Full story here.

The valedictorian twins will attend Notre Dame University together in the fall.


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In the wake of recent news that a relatively new student group at the University of Notre Dame formed to defend traditional marriage has been denied official recognition as a campus club at the Catholic institution, a recent grad and founding member of that group – Michael Bradley – has penned an editorial voicing concern over the iconic institution’s apparent identity crisis.

Bradley, a former College Fix contributor who graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame with a BA in philosophy and theology and who also served as editor-in-chief of Notre Dame’s independent student newspaper, the Irish Roverwrites in Public Discourse:

When essential truths are at stake, administrators and (Gender Relations Center) officials stand silently by as the student “peer educators” tasked with facilitating informed, civil discussion of tough issues routinely oppose student efforts to affirm orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality.

Attempts to tackle these issues head-on are met with calls for disbandment, and such calls are heeded by university officials. Notre Dame administrators then wield politically correct rhetoric as a weapon against students who are concerned that all the emphasis on campus “inclusion” has caused important, loving truths about the human person to be lost. These truths compose the good of those students perhaps least inclined to feel “welcomed” by them.

Notre Dame’s pastoral ministry must be rooted in the truths of human nature and human goods, and man’s supernatural end. Pope Saint John Paul II once said that “pastoral concern means the search for the true good of man, a promotion of the values engraved in his person by God.”

Unfortunately, it seems that Notre Dame has firmly, if quietly, commenced its slow surrender to a sexual ideology that, once internalized, will ensure that students at Notre Dame wander as sheep without their shepherds.

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A relatively new student group at the University of Notre Dame formed to defend traditional marriage has been denied official recognition as a campus club at the Catholic institution.

The decision to reject Students for Child-Oriented Policy was made first by the Club Coordination Council, a branch of Notre Dame’s student government, then ratified recently by Margaret Hnatusko, director of the student activities office.

“In evaluating a proposal, approval is based is on several things,” Hnatusko explained in her April 30 denial letter. “We consider the general purpose of a club, uniqueness to campus, proposed activities, a clear constitution, a strong understanding of budget planning, projected membership, opportunity for membership among other things.”

“The … mission of your club closely mirrored that of other undergraduate-student clubs on campus which served the intended interests of this club,” she continued. “As such, the Club Coordination Council felt there was not a need for another similar type club. … I regret to inform you that Students for Child-Oriented Policy will not be recognized by the Student Activities Office as a university student club.”

But the decision comes after Students for Child-Oriented Policy has been embroiled in an ongoing battle at Notre Dame over the university’s apparent apathy over the battle to support traditional marriage, as well as the Catholic college’s recent and strong support for the homosexual community.

During the 2013-14 school year at Notre Dame, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning student group called PrismND was established, hosting events on “National Coming Out Day” that encouraged students to “come out.”

The university also established a pastoral plan “for the support and holistic development of GLBTQ and heterosexual students.” A video the university put out last month touts its homosexual athletes.

Students for Child-Oriented Policy had emerged during the start of the spring semester to stand against the university’s trend toward accepting and embracing homosexuality and gay marriage.

In March, the fledgling group launched a petition that called on administrators to “make a clear stand in support of the true definition of marriage and to take serious and sustained action to improve the public understanding of this natural institution.”

The effort met with backlash from some Notre Dame students, who launched a counter-petition.

This counter-petition not only opposed official recognition of SCOP, but also asked university officials to renounce it “unless (its members) reformulate club policy, in which childhood outcomes should not be included as a defense against marriage.”

As for the recent decision to reject Students for Child-Oriented Policy as an official campus group, university officials downplayed the issue.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown told the National Catholic Register, which first reported the news, that the club’s denial is “not unusual.”

“Over the past five years, 31 percent of club applications at the University of Notre Dame have been denied, most of those for the same reason — that they duplicated another club’s purpose, explained Brown. SCOP was one of six proposed clubs whose applications were denied this spring.”

Students for Child-Oriented Policy plan to appeal the decision, according to a comment on the group’s Facebook page.

“For now, we have been denied recognition from SAO based on a recommendation from the Club Coordination Council,” stated Timothy Bradley. “There is an appeal process and we are exploring some other avenues to reverse the decision.”

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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A new video released by the University of Notre Dame, one of the most venerable Catholic institutions in the country, states that the teachings of the Catholic Church and practicing homosexuals can offer each other “mutual respect … grounded in Catholic tradition.”

The video is part of a larger public awareness project that aims to ensure “equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.”

The video, released May 2, almost gives off a recruitment vibe. Its timing coincides with a major debate on the campus over the college’s stance on and support of homosexuality.

What’s more, during this 2013-14 school year at Notre Dame, PrismND, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning student group was established on campus. This gay-straight alliance hosted “National Coming Out Day” observances and lectures, and the university also established a pastoral plan called “Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame.”

Watch the video:

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A war-of-words has engulfed the University of Notre Dame recently, with dueling student petitions dividing the campus and prompting a debate over whether the venerable Catholic university should take a stand in support of traditional marriage.

The controversy started early last month, when an informal group of Notre Dame students, Students for Child-Oriented Policy, launched a petition that called on administrators to “make a clear stand in support of the true definition of marriage and to take serious and sustained action to improve the public understanding of this natural institution.”

In conjunction with its petition, SCOP organized an April 3 conference titled “For Richer, For Poorer, For Children: The Definition and Importance of Civil Marriage.” Prior to this conference, Notre Dame senior Alfredo Guzmán-Dominguez, president of the Orestes Brownson Council, requested permission from the Student Activities Office to promote the marriage petition in the campus student center.

But the Student Activities Office’s programming director told the group the petition must be reviewed by the university’s Gender Relations Center before a promotional table could be hosted, Guzmán-Dominguez told The College Fix. This process made it impossible to get approval in time to set up a table to publicize the petition and the conference.

“She noted concerns that the petition was ‘inaccurate’ and that the petition’s quotation of Notre Dame’s mission statement might imply that unmarried parents are not engaging ‘in a way of living consonant with a Christian community,’” Guzmán-Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame students launched a counter-petition against the conjugal marriage petition and the new Students for Child-Oriented Policy group.

This counter-petition not only opposes official recognition of the SCOP, but also asks university officials to renounce it “unless (its members) reformulate club policy, in which childhood outcomes should not be included as a defense against marriage.”

“The petition sought to deny us official recognition as a student club and so the ability to organize events through which to explore and explain our club’s perspective,” Notre Dame senior Tim Kirchoff, a member of SCOP, told The College Fix. “It accused us of not entering into responsible discourse about social science before we had a meaningful opportunity to do so in the context of a wider conversation. There’s something just a little silly about that.”

But the counter-petition claims that SCOP’s motives “can only be interpreted as discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation.” Their petition goes on to assert that “clearly, this group is not actually in the pursuit of knowledge and truth, nor do they want what is ‘best’ for children.”

The counter-petition takes issue with Students for Child-Oriented Policy on the false grounds that the group incorrectly asserts “that same-sex parenting is damaging to children.” The anti-SCOP petition argues that such an assertion “blatantly ignores all empirical data in this field of the social sciences that actually indicates the opposite is true.”

This claim, however, is contested by an amicus curiae brief filed by a group of social science professors in the 2012 Supreme Court cases Hollingsworth v. Perry and US v. Windsor; and this Public Discourse article by Ana Samuels that presents an extensive overview of the social science data directly contradicting the “no-differences” argument featured prominently in the anti-Students for Child-Oriented Policy petition.

The SCOP petition cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Notre Dame’s mission statement, and a university document called “A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame” to make its case.

“SCOP does not solely aim to address the redefinition of marriage,” Tiernan Kane, president of Students for Child-Oriented Policy, told The College Fix.  “SCOP has not contributed to the ongoing social-science debate about family structures—but rather asserted a right of every child to the care of his or her mother and father.”

Kane defined SCOP as “a group of Notre Dame students concerned that policy be made with special attention to how it will affect children—and committed to advocating children’s rights.”

Kirchoff had authored a letter to the editor to Notre Dame’s mainstream campus newspaper, the Observer, encouraging students to attend the April 3 conference with an open mind, in the same “tolerant” way Notre Dame students are asked to view PrismND, the university’s gay-straight alliance, and the 4 to 5 Movement, a gay-rights student club.

The April 3 SCOP conference featured presentations by evangelical bishop Harry Jackson Jr., Professor Gerard Bradley of the Notre Dame Law School, Professor Daniel Mark of Villanova University, and Robert Oscar Lopez, among several other speakers.

Following the conference, the president and vice-president of PrismND co-authored a letter to the editor published Monday in the Observer.

“We are not opposed to the existence of SCOP,” the Prism leaders’ letter stated, “nor to the discussion it intends to have. Rather, we condemn the part of the discussion that degrades the lives of those who identify as GLBTQ in order to further its purpose.”

Reached for comment, PrismND president, sophomore Bryan Ricketts, said his views on the conference “were represented well in the editorial.”

Meanwhile, two out of five of PrismND’s officers have signed the Stop-SCOP petition, as well as more than one-third of the Notre Dame’s Gender Relations Center student FIRE Starters, whose responsibility it is to “foster dialogue” and “promote open and inclusive discussion.”

University of Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown did not respond to a request for comment. Campus administrators have yet to publicly speak out on the controversy.

During the 2013-14 school year at Notre Dame, PrismND, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning student group was established on campus. This gay-straight alliance hosted “National Coming Out Day” observances and lectures, and the university also established a pastoral plan called “Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame.”

College Fix contributor Alexandra DeSanctis is a student at the University of Notre Dame.

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