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.