Notre Dame’s student government led off the new school year by handing all students free subscriptions to the New York Times (and no other newspaper) and bringing on a director of gender relations with a history of hostility toward Catholic teaching. We describe these decisions below and examine other recent actions in Notre Dame’s gender relations programs.
The New Gender Relations Agenda
Last spring, the Notre Dame student government confirmed incoming senior Anne Jarrett as the director of gender relations for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Jarrett is an active and outspoken member of Irish 4 Reproductive Health (I4RH), an unofficial student group that provides free condoms to students under a Planned Parenthood sponsored program and is suing Notre Dame to require it to provide free abortifacients under its health insurance programs.
(The university’s tacit consent to this dormitory condom delivery service makes a joke of its disciplinary warning against extra-marital sex, an injunction that had already been drained of credibility by Father Jenkins’s about-face in the Obamacare mandate litigation with his decision to provide contraceptives (but not abortifacients) through the university’s health insurance programs.)
In her new role, Jarrett evidently aims to lead the gender relations department further away from Catholic teaching about sexual morality and ethics.
According to an article by Ellie Gardey (ND ’21) in The College Fix, Jarrett’s first email to the department laid out her goals for the following academic year, which included “’trans’ student rights,” “PRIDE week,” “pronoun emphasis,” “discussions about sex/gender/sexuality,” and “PARIETALS ‘reform’ (REMOVAL).”
To be specific on two of her goals, Jarrett wants female students to be able to stay all night in men students’ rooms, and “their” (as student government refers to Jarrett) wants Notre Dame to join “woke” colleges “across the country [that]…are doing away with words such as: he, she, him, her, himself, and herself” and “allowing students to choose their preferred gender pronoun from a list including such gender-neutral identifiers as ‘ze, hir, and hirs,'”
Anti-Catholic Leadership at a Catholic School?
Jarrett has also publicly decried important tenets of Catholic sexual ethics and marriage. In February, she posted a tweetthat read:
Other social media posts from Jarrett have expressed vulgarity and hostility toward men. In March, she tweeted,
And again in a post on Instagram last year, Jarrett declared,
You can trust [women about their bodies]. If we wanted your [men’s] ignorant, irrelevant opinions, we’d ask.”
(After Gardey reached out to her for comment, Jarrett changed her Instagram account profile. Since then, she has made her account private, and the quote above is no longer publicly visible.)
According to its website, the student government gender relations department “works to foster a healthy environment of communication and dialogue between individuals of different genders on campus.” Student government’s most recent initiative respecting gender was to co-sponsor a talk by a well-known critic of Catholic teaching on gender who assails it as “fundamentally flawed.”
Diversity Trumps Doctrine
Jarrett was nominated for the position by student body vice president Patrick McGuire and president Elizabeth Boyle, who held the same gender relations position last year. Boyle defended Jarrett’s nomination by stating,
Bringing diversity and diversity of thought [to Notre Dame] is exceptionally important.
Based on her campus activities and publicly expressed opinions and goals, it appears that Jarrett’s commitment to bringing more “diversity of thought” on campus includes an agenda rife with ideology that pushes back against Catholic teaching. Her Gender Studies account of her internship with an organization devoted to advancing the transgender agenda “in rural communities and small towns” and her blog site, which is devoted almost entirely to LGBT issues, really leave no doubt about that.
Gender Relations Programs Need a Brake, Not an Accelerator
Sycamore Trust has described in previous bulletins how the Notre Dame Gender Studies Program has undermined Catholic teaching. See, e.g., “The Gender Studies Program Versus the Church.”
And in 2017, in an event we will describe in detail later, the Gender Relations Center co-sponsored a talk by Fr. James Martin, S.J., a controversial figure who has been a vocal advocate for hiring same-sex married Catholics as primary and secondary school teachers and incorporating them into Church ministries. Fr. Martin, as we have previously reported, was honored on campus by Notre Dame’s Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association (GALA) this past spring.
Student Government Promotes New York Times Monopoly
This summer, Notre Dame’s student government announced that it would be providing every student with a free online subscription to the New York Times beginning in August. This makes it the only free newspaper (apart from student publications) available on campus.
In previous years, student government provided just over 100 print copies of the paper in each dining hall for students to pick up. But now, according to the student government press release, student access to the New York Times will increase from “around students to over 8,500.”
In past years, at least for a period of time, student government also had a contract with the more conservative Wall Street Journal and provided several hundred copies across campus as well. But now the only national paper available to all students free of charge is one that has a history of liberal and anti-Catholic bias, with articles that favor abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage as “rights,” to name but a few examples
Notre Dame student government is joining the university’s gender relations programs in promoting policies and practices hostile to Church teaching. The “Catholic neighborhood” of Dr. Alfred Freddoso’s memorable description of Notre Dame as “something like a public school in a Catholic neighborhood” is increasingly at risk.