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Lead Us [Not] Into Temptation

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.@NotreDame president grants Native American students' request to cover Columbus murals but denies over 1000 students’ request to block Internet porn ND funnels to students 24/7. Go figure! #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

We regret to report that Father Jenkins has denied the student-initiated petition for a filter to curb the torrent of pornography it funnels to students via its Internet service.

We reported on the genesis of this student movement in earlier bulletins: Notre Dame, Pornography Middleman and Cover Columbus! Show Porn!.

Now, with the permission of The Observer, we reproduce below an op-ed by the leaders of this campaign that describes what has happened since then.

(The co-authors, Jim Martinson (’19) and Ellie Gardey (’21), are the immediate past president and the new co-president of the student organization SCOP. Mr. Martinson, a recipient this year of Sycamore Trust’s student award for outstanding contributions to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, will speak at our June 1 breakfast during Reunion Weekend. Ms. Gardey was the foremost investigative reporter for the Irish Rover this past year.)

We preface this op-ed with several observations:

  • Along with pornography, the university supplies contraceptives to students through its health insurance program and permits the student organization Irish 4 Reproductive Health to deliver free contraceptives to student dorms on request. Especially when mixed with alcohol, this is a combustible combination.
  • This collaboration by the university in providing instrumentalities of vice is especially bewildering in light of: (a) the link between pornography and sexual abuse stressed by the students and others, and (b) the deeply troubling incidence of sexual abuse at the university.

    As we’ve noted, the university’s most recent survey, with only about half the students responding, brought reports of about 9 rapes and about 50 other sexual assaults a month during the preceding year.
  • The university’s explanations for denying the petition are either flip, risible, useless, or fatuous.

    Flip: Vice President Paul Browne’s dismissive “God’s given us the choice of whether we’re going to be sinners or not, you know.”
    Risible: Paul Browne redux : “We expect our students and others not to patronize pornographic sites.”
    Useless, Father Jenkins’s only explanation: “We do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us.”
    Fatuous: Father Jenkins: “[W]e are taking steps to encourage students to adopt filters voluntarily.”
  • The anti-porn campaign by Notre Dame students has inspired students on other campuses to follow suit, and they have enjoyed their first success at Catholic University. CUA’s president Dr. John H. Garvey (ND ’70 and former ND law school professor) said he was “happy” to grant the student government request to block porn sites and declared:

I am so proud of our students!

  • Finally, since Father Jenkins has declined to explain his decision, it seems reasonable to conclude he does not think it would command widespread applause. It likely has to do, we suppose, with the desire to “fit in” with secular academe and not appear “too Catholic.”

    This commentator has it right:

    If universities are serious about protecting women and reducing sexual assault, they should oppose porn as a health and safety issue, and they should block porn on their wifi networks….[But] if they’re more concerned with people-pleasing and making money from a higher quantity of students, they’ll continue with the same old song and dance.

The students open their letter, as we did our bulletin, by marking the surpassing irony of covering Columbus while displaying obscene images and actions.


University President rejected our request for a porn filter

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, recently decided to cover murals of Christopher Columbus because they were deemed too offensive to be viewed by Notre Dame students. One week later, he rejected a student petition calling for a pornography filter on Notre Dame’s Wi-Fi. We are dumbfounded. Does the University of Notre Dame really believe Christopher Columbus is more harmful than porn?

Notre Dame has taught us to make a difference in our community, and we saw a chance to do just that through the filter initiative. Pornography consumption is an enormous problem at Notre Dame and for all people our age. It harms users — both men and women — and their ability to form healthy relationships, and it harms women by fostering a culture of exploitation, sexual violence and toxic masculinity. This is especially relevant in the age of the #MeToo movement. Everyone knows that many people are consuming pornography. What most people don’t acknowledge is that many of them want to stop.

We know that Notre Dame already has a policy that states that students are not supposed to use University Wi-Fi to access pornography. But unlike Holy Cross College (ND’s brother college across the street, which filters its Wi-Fi network), ND does nothing to enforce its own policy. As a University that claims to educate “hearts and minds,” Notre Dame should not play a part in providing pornographic material. A part of that education, no doubt, is the formation of moral character.

To encourage the University to enforce its own policies, we penned a letter in the school newspaper, co-signed by 81 fellow male students, requesting a porn filter. We wrote, “As a university that champions social justice, human rights, equality and dignity, Notre Dame ought to block pornography using the technology available to us. Doing so represents both an attempt to eradicate pornography from the campus culture and, more broadly, a strong stance against sexual assault, sex trafficking and other human rights violations.”

This was followed by a letter signed by 68 Notre Dame women who stated that “pornography propagates a mindset that people, especially women, are mere sex objects.”

The letters went viral. Our petition garnered over 2,400 signatures from students, faculty, staff and friends of Notre Dame. A third-party petition also received over 12,500 signatures.

Nightline ABCThe Daily BeastNational Review and several other news organizations saw how important this issue was and turned what we were doing at Notre Dame into a national conversation. Our emails were flooded with notes from students from all over the U.S. who not only supported us but wanted to do the same at their universities.

Then we met with President Fr. Jenkins. We presented our argument for a pornography filter and how it would help Notre Dame students, our policy proposal and the technological steps for implementation. After this meeting and two follow-up conversations, it has become clear that the administration is not interested in promoting real change at Notre Dame. Instead, they offered to implement a vanilla “opt-in” system. In this model, students would have to sign up to have their internet filtered. The administrators said that this would be accompanied by a “public awareness campaign.”

An “opt-in” filter would send the message that degrading others, especially women, is merely a matter of individual choice. It makes what should be the expectation and standard of conduct — protecting and respecting human dignity — an option. And worse, it makes the default option one that feeds an industry that abuses women and children and cultivates an environment amenable to sexual assault.

We have come to realize that this is a generational disconnect: The types of filmed violence on screen are not “your father’s pornography.” Fr. Jenkins and his top officials do not get it. They do not seem to understand or care that lives (and souls) are at stake. They seem to think that the problems presented by pornography take place on the individual level, as a battle against temptation, but in actuality, it is a community-wide issue, one so serious that it demands moral leadership on the part of the University to promote student health and well-being.

We are disheartened to see that Notre Dame has rejected the call of thousands of members of the Notre Dame family to adopt a campus pornography filter. We hope Fr. Jenkins will reconsider his decision and promote a campus culture that upholds human dignity and respect for women.

Pornography at Notre Dame should be treated with at least the same concern as the covering up of the Columbus murals in the Main Building. We remain ready to support any move to meet this serious issue with a serious response.

Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, recently decided to cover murals of Christopher Columbus because they were deemed too offensive to be viewed by Notre Dame students. One week later, he rejected a student petition calling for a pornography filter on Notre Dame’s Wi-Fi. We are dumbfounded. Does the University of Notre Dame really believe Christopher Columbus is more harmful than porn?

Notre Dame has taught us to make a difference in our community, and we saw a chance to do just that through the filter initiative. Pornography consumption is an enormous problem at Notre Dame and for all people our age. It harms users — both men and women — and their ability to form healthy relationships, and it harms women by fostering a culture of exploitation, sexual violence and toxic masculinity. This is especially relevant in the age of the #MeToo movement. Everyone knows that many people are consuming pornography. What most people don’t acknowledge is that many of them want to stop.
To encourage the University to enforce its own policies, we penned a letter in the school newspaper, co-signed by 81 fellow male students, requesting a porn filter.

We wrote, “As a university that champions social justice, human rights, equality and dignity, Notre Dame ought to block pornography using the technology available to us. Doing so represents both an attempt to eradicate pornography from the campus culture and, more broadly, a strong stance against sexual assault, sex trafficking and other human rights violations.”

This was followed by a letter signed by 68 Notre Dame women who stated that “pornography propagates a mindset that people, especially women, are mere sex objects.”

The letters went viral. Our petition garnered over 2,400 signatures from students, faculty, staff and friends of Notre Dame. A third-party petition also received over 12,500 signatures.

Nightline ABC, The Daily Beast, National Review and several other news organizations saw how important this issue was and turned what we were doing at Notre Dame into a national conversation. Our emails were flooded with notes from students from all over the U.S. who not only supported us but wanted to do the same at their universities.

Then we met with President Fr. Jenkins. We presented our argument for a pornography filter and how it would help Notre Dame students, our policy proposal and the technological steps for implementation. After this meeting and two follow-up conversations, it has become clear that the administration is not interested in promoting real change at Notre Dame. Instead, they offered to implement a vanilla “opt-in” system. In this model, students would have to sign up to have their internet filtered. The administrators said that this would be accompanied by a “public awareness campaign.”

An “opt-in” filter would send the message that degrading others, especially women, is merely a matter of individual choice. It makes what should be the expectation and standard of conduct — protecting and respecting human dignity — an option. And worse, it makes the default option one that feeds an industry that abuses women and children and cultivates an environment amenable to sexual assault.

We have come to realize that this is a generational disconnect: The types of filmed violence on screen are not “your father’s pornography.” Fr. Jenkins and his top officials do not get it. They do not seem to understand or care that lives (and souls) are at stake. They seem to think that the problems presented by pornography take place on the individual level, as a battle against temptation, but in actuality, it is a community-wide issue, one so serious that it demands moral leadership on the part of the University to promote student health and well-being.

We are disheartened to see that Notre Dame has rejected the call of thousands of members of the Notre Dame family to adopt a campus pornography filter. We hope Fr. Jenkins will reconsider his decision and promote a campus culture that upholds human dignity and respect for women.

Pornography at Notre Dame should be treated with at least the same concern as the covering up of the Columbus murals in the Main Building. We remain ready to support any move to meet this serious issue with a serious response.

Jim Martinson
senior

Ellie Gardey
sophomore


Annual Breakfast @ Reunion 2019

We are pleased to announce that Fathe Miscamble will be the principal speaker our Annual Breakfast on Saturday morning, June 1. He will discuss Father Hesburgh’s “Ambitious Life” and “Conflicted Legacy,” in the words his book’s subtitle, and he will be joined by the two recipients of our 2019 student awards for outstanding contributions to the Catholic identity of the University, Mackenzie Kraker and Jim Martinson, both 2019 graduates, who will speak of their experiences as Notre Dame students.

MORE INFORMATION

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7 Responses to “Lead Us [Not] Into Temptation”

  1. John McNamara May 22, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Dear Sycamore Trust- I am looking for someone to talk to about my confusion regarding Notre Dame. I really appreciate reading your newsletters and I had not been aware of all the conflict between the Catholic Faith and liberal secularism at Notre Dame and in the Catholic Church as a whole, until I started receiving your e-mail newsletters and started seeing Church Militant website episodes of a Catholic news program called “The Vortex” from a Notre Dame grad, Michael Voris, ’83. I was quite shocked when Notre Dame was planning to pay for abortions. When I read your newsletters, I appreciate hearing what you inform us about on campus, though unfortunately, most of it seems to be bad news, with the exception of inspirational actions by lay people who are students at Notre Dame. I am so proud of the students at Notre Dame, but also more and more disillusioned by the President and professors at Notre Dame, to the point that I feel morally betrayed by Notre Dame and that it is painful to look at positive news about the sports teams or pictures from Notre Dame’s glory days, because now Notre Dame seems like a dishonest façade for liberal, pro abortion, anti- Catholic secularism and the least trustworthy people at Notre Dame are the priests. I suspect I am not alone in this, and I wish there was someone to talk to about this, but currently I don’t trust anyone employed by the University, with the EXCEPTION of Fr. Miscamble, who Bill Dempsey endorses and who has tried to stand up to Fr. Jenkins. I expect Fr. Miscamble is a busy man and I don’t expect to hear from him, but I wish there was someone to talk to, to try to make sense of what to think about Notre Dame and Fr. Hesburgh. My local alumni club is not a serious or good source.

    I wish that some of the older alumni from the 50’s and 60’s would share their thoughts on what to think of Fr. Hesburgh and today’s Notre Dame. Maybe this isn’t the forum, but if anyone has thoughts, I would like to communicate by e-mail or phone. I find this bothering me at times in the back of my mind and no one to discuss it with. If you ever look at the website Youtube, there is a video called “The Legacy of Fr. Hesburgh, with clips from Ara Parseghian and a state court judge that I would like to believe, but then there is an episode of “The Vortex” from Church Militant called “Fr. Ted Hesburgh- Traitor to the Faith” that I can’t find any factual errors with, and it just causes a gnawing and soreness that I can’t count on Notre Dame anymore to be what I thought it was back in the 1980’s. It’s like a part of me is dying, like you would feel, if a parent ran off and had an affair. My son is graduating from high school in the not too distant future, but I cant get enthused about recommending ND, while a dishonest guy like Jenkins is the president. I also am at a loss of any Catholic college or university to recommend to him, with the possible exception of Catholic University of America. I read another alumni write on another site that you’re better off sending a kid to a state school, where you know up front the faculty will be typically liberal and anti-Catholic, rather than sending them to ND, where the faculty will pretend to be Catholic, but will sell your kid a watered-down, secretly-modified, secular Catholicism. If anyone is interested in communicating off this site, I would welcome hearing from you. My address is saddlerocklaw@aol.com. All the best, please forgive my wordiness.

  2. Willliam Dotterweich May 22, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Regarding the removal of the Columbus murals, just how large can the “native american contingent at ND be? I mean real Native Americans, not people with minor amounts of N.A. blood.

    As to the porn web filter, I have offered (to Jim Martinson) to pay all costs relative to this installation, but have heard nothing. Is this now a dead issue?

  3. Margaret Broughton McGrath May 17, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Who appoints/elects the President of Notre Dame? What steps need to be taken to remove Fr. Jenkins?

    • The Board of Trustees elects the president, who must be a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Board has been delegated that authority by the Fellows of the University, a body of 12 self-perpetuating persons, including 6 priests of the Order, that holds ultimate authority and whose responsibilities including insuring the Catholic character of Notre Dame “in perpetuity.” With the presidency and half of the Fellows, the Order retains effective control of the university, and the members who have held positions of authority bear principal responsibility for the attenuation of the Catholic character of the university that has taken place over recent decades reaching back to the Hesburgh era. The president could be removed by the Board of Trustees, but as a practical matter there is no prospect of that happening. It is really immaterial, since Father Jenkins was elected for the third time in 2015 to a five-year term, which will be drawing to a close next year. Pray for a worthy successor.

      • John McNamara May 23, 2019 at 4:09 pm

        In reviewing your response to Margaret McGrath, I noticed that both Monk Malloy and John Jenkins held the title of Vice President and Associate Provost before becoming President. That position appears to currently be held by a woman named Maura Ryan, identified as a theology professor and specializing in feminist ethics. What do you think the odds are the Board of Trustees will look past naming a Holy Cross priest and promote this VP and professor to the top spot? More and more Catholic universities are appointing lay people, including CUA. Are you sure Jenkins won’t want a fourth term? Malloy served 18 years.

  4. John McNamara May 17, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    It’s a great day for Catholic University and another shameful day for Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame.

    Since Fr. Jenkins wants to cover artwork that is offensive to liberals and Native Americans, I suggest he go to the Grotto and cover up the statue of Dr. Tom Dooley, a CIA spy and gun runner in Laos, posing as a doctor running a phony medical clinic for the poor indigenous peoples of Laos, giving them expired medicines. Read the entire article on the internet, if you want to know why the statue WILL NEVER be covered, and the hypocrisy of liberals like Fr. Jenkins ( and the reason IS NOT that Dr. Dooley was an ND grad). The following is an excerpt of a December 15, 1991 L.A. Times article by Diana Shaw reviewing a book about Dr. Dooley:

    “Dooley’s “independent mission” to Laos, then, was not independent of the CIA or the Navy. Dooley was too much of a loose cannon to be trusted with substantial intelligence responsibilities, but as an eloquent anti-communist committed to peace by means of human services, he could be counted on generally to fire in the right direction. Dooley was useful as a spokesman and a symbol, and, to some degree, as a spy and a courier. In return for his support, the Navy wanted “situation reports.” Likewise, the rescue committee asked him to dispatch weekly “Letters from Laos.”

    The CIA asked him for help of a different order: The agency wanted him to take weapons, along with his pharmaceutical supplies and surgical gear, so he could bury caches of arms that agents could use to mobilize local militia. His task would be to promote his clinics as outposts of peace, all the while covertly preparing for battle and giving induction exams to Laotian boys to clear them for service in the militia. Dooley’s clinics were early mobilization efforts–in a part of Indochina that was meant to be neutral.

    Much of Dooley’s Vientiane clinic project was a sham. Dooley’s assistants were untrained and unqualified to give him the kind of help he would need to operate a legitimate clinic. His medicine chest was full of pills and elixirs that had been donated by Pfizer, a drug manufacturer, because they had expired and were no longer legal to sell in the United States. Yet feature stories in Life, Look, Newsweek and Time presented Dooley as an ideal role model in features titled “The Splendid American,” “Do-it-Yourself Samaritan” and “The Schweitzer of Asia.” (According to Ann Miller, Schweitzer was not flattered by the comparison. He considered Dooley a dilettante and a charlatan.)

    Dennis Shepard, who spent several months with Dooley as a volunteer in Laos, remembers that Dooley would round up as many of his former patients as he could whenever potential sponsors came to tour the clinic, giving the impression that he had a full and active hospital. In fact, he handled few cases, and the hospital was largely empty. According to Shepard, Miller and others, local CIA officers came by often to find out if Dooley had picked up anything about the movement of Chinese troops. They also came, Shepard remembers Dooley telling him, to ensure that the weapons Dooley had brought up with his medical supplies were well-hidden and secure. Shepard adds that he thought Dooley, always after a way to inflate his importance, may have been bluffing. But home movies Dooley took of his move to Nam Tha show a boatload of rifles, jealously guarded by his escorts–armed members of the Laotian militia.

    According to Ted Werner, Dooley exaggerated too much to be really useful to the CIA. “They would ask me to report on certain things when I was up there visiting Dooley, which was an indication to me they weren’t relying on him in that sense,” he says. Yet the weapons cache made the clinic an outpost of sorts, in contrast to its publicized purpose.”

    Should not Fr. Jenkins and other campus radicals and liberals be outraged by this report and want to remove and melt the statue? This statue is much more egregious than hundred year old tapestries of Columbus’ journey 500 years ago, or statues of Civil War soldiers at the University of North Carolina and Charlottesville Virginia. Dr. Dooley was a spy running guns and giving info to the CIA, while handing out expired medicines to indigenous peoples within the last 60 years and during the lead up to the Viet Nam war, and its exploitation and colonialism, so despised by so many of Fr. Jenkins generation. Why the double standard Fr. Jenkins?? Albert Schweitzer, a great humanitarian, called Dr. Dooley a charlatan, what more authority to act do you need? When are the liberals going to forcibly tear down Dr. Dooley’s statue during an unauthorized nighttime peaceful assembly? What gives, hypocrites??

  5. Robert Barringer May 17, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Sadly, it is painfully obvious that the University of Notre Dame, my beloved alma mater, has totally abandoned the concept of “in loco parentis” which at one time guided the University’s professed responsibilities towards the young adults entrusted to its care. One of the ways in which the University transmits its values is to have standards which embody those values and which are disseminated and enforced without apology. Once again, Notre Dame exposes itself as a “whited sepulcher” that parades its “picturesque Catholicism” while declining to implement policies that actually preserve its Catholic character. That is, unless those policies are cynical, politically correct exhibitionism as the covering of the Columbus murals.

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