Protest Letter about President Clinton as 2016 Commencement Speaker

Dear President Snyder,

We alumni, donors, parents, faculty, students, and concerned friends object to your decision to honor President Bill Clinton as LMU’s 2016 commencement speaker on May 7th. If you as President of LMU treated a 21 year old intern in your office as he did, you would be fired as president and never honored in any way at LMU. Why should the standards be lower for a President of the United States? If LMU cares about sexual harassment, it should not honor someone repeatedly and credibly accused of such activity.  Moreover, it is inappropriate in an election year to honor the spouse of a leading candidate thereby politicizing an event that should be unifying.  Finally, President Clinton’s steadfast support of abortion on demand, including even partial birth abortion, is incompatible with LMU’s Jesuit emphasis on social justice for all human beings.

We protest your decision to give an honorary doctorate to President Clinton.



To support this effort please sign below and circulate this petition.  We also welcome you to include your own comment. 

LMU Jesuit Rector Defends Giving an Honorary Doctorate to President Bill Clinton

In the Loyolan, Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck, the rector of the Jesuit Community at LMU and a trustee, defends giving President Clinton an honorary doctorate.  “In conferring this honor LMU does not endorse all of Mr. Clinton’s past or current policies nor condone all his actions,” Fr. Deck told the Loyolan, “Rather, the University recognizes the extraordinary service he has given to civil society and his lifetime connection to Catholic and Jesuit higher education as a Georgetown University alumnus.”  

By contrast, the U.S. Catholic Bishops teach, “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” A politician’s extraordinary service does not constitute an exception to this principle, since any politician who is being considered for an honor presumably has exemplary service in at least some respects.

Fr. Deck’s response to RenewLMU’s criticism attacks a straw man.  No one thinks that to grant an honorary doctorate is to endorse all of a politician’s policies or to condone all the politician’s actions.  Nor is the question whether the politician provided extraordinary service or attended a Jesuit university.   The question is whether President Clinton’s policies and actions violate fundamental Catholic moral principles about partial birth abortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, and sexual harassment in the workplace.  The answer is obvious.

Join Us in Asking LMU to Hire More Catholic Faculty

An Open Letter to LMU President Timothy Law Snyder

Dear President Snyder,

We welcome you to the Office of President. We are excited to work with you and help you to enhance the distinctive mission and identity of LMU as a Catholic university. In this spirit of cooperation, we would like to call to your attention issues of great importance to us as LMU alumni, donors, parents, faculty, and concerned friends. As reported in the LMU Faculty Climate Survey, of the 392 professors who took the survey, only twenty-four percent (24%) identified as Catholic. In Ex corde ecclesiae, Pope St. John Paul II indicated : “the number of non-Catholic teachers should not be allowed to constitute a majority within the Institution, which is and must remain Catholic.”

LMU’s Proactive Publicity Committee Final Report states, “We are institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism….and seek to ensure that Catholicism is ‘pervasively present and effectively operative.'” But the Faculty Climate Survey found not pervasive Catholicism but a “majority secular liberal point of view” at LMU. As the New York Times indicated, “Students said there were few reminders that they attended a Catholic university at all, aside from the glistening white church at the center of campus or the occasional cross on a classroom wall.”

We respectfully request that you take action to hire more Catholic faculty and keep track of the religious identity of newly hired faculty.

Thank you for considering our requests.



To support this effort to preserve the Catholic identity of LMU,
please sign here and circulate this petition.  We also welcome you to include your own comment.