Campus Watch

President Faulted

THE OBSERVER, May 5 — Several prominent University of Notre Dame faculty members have criticized the decision of the university’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, to allow future performances on campus of “The Vagina Monologues” and allow such events as a “gay film festival.”

Three faculty members wrote open letters to the student newspaper: John Cavadini, chairman of the theology department; Franciscan Father John Coughlin, a professor in the law school; and Holy Cross Father Wilson Miscamble, a history professor and former rector of Notre Dame’s Moreau Seminary.

In his letter, Father Miscamble said the decision brought the “most joy to those who care least about Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.”

Law professor Charles Rice wrote in the opinion section of the paper that Father Jenkins “confirms that political correctness is the operative official religion at Notre Dame.”

He said the president “should resign or be removed.”

Bishop John D’Arcy of South Bend and papal biographer George Weigel have also sharply criticized Father Jenkins’s decision.

ND-JPII Center?

DETROIT FREE PRESS, May 1 — Washington’s John Paul II Cultural Center, “$40 million-plus in debt and struggling to define its mission, may find financial assistance in Notre Dame University,” reported the newspaper.

The center’s burgeoning debt is either held directly by or guaranteed by the Detroit Archdiocese.

Notre Dame’s endowment of some $3 billion in 2004 places it in the top 20 of the nation’s universities.

Freezing Costs

THE BOSTON GLOBE, May 7 — Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., is guaranteeing incoming freshmen this fall’s costs for tuition, room and board will remain the same for the next four years.

The four-year Catholic college hopes that freezing costs at $37,700 a year for the incoming class will decrease the number of students who leave the college each year because of rising costs.            

Annual tuition increases over the last few years have averaged about 5%.

The downside? The policy could guarantee big jumps in tuition costs for students who are admitted in following years.

Stop the Music

DETROIT FREE PRESS, May 10 — The administration of Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Mich., thinks morality trumps seatbelt safety.

The school’s students won a free concert performance by “up-and-coming R&B artist” Ne-Yo for gaining the most student pledges to always wear seat belts. But the concert never happened because of the sexually explicit lyrics of some of Ne-Yo’s debut CD.

Mercy Principal Carolyn Witte said she regrets not having read the lyrics of all the artist’s songs before giving the okay for the contest.

“I certainly am not pointing a finger of blame at anyone,” Witte said. “The bottom line is I have to make decisions based on what I think is going to be in line with what we are, what we teach and how we’ve dialogued with students.”

Abbey Guesthouse

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY, May 15 — Tom Petters, chairman and chief executive officer of Petters Group Worldwide, has contributed $2 million to complete the second phase of the St. John’s Abbey Guesthouse in Collegeville, Minn.

The guesthouse, under construction near the abbey church, features 30 guest rooms and suites, a chapel, library and dining facilities. The second phase is the construction of the church pavilion, now to be named the Petters Pavilion.

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy