If an LMU administrator, even an angry president says, “You work for me!” and therefore you cannot speak in the way that you want to speak, or protest what you want to protest, this is contrary to LMU policy. If this happens to you, may we suggest that you point out to this administrator that both you and he work for Loyola Marymount University, and LMU claims to value free speech and the exchange of ideas. He is an administrator at this university, not a dictator who can order members of the community not to speak.
Responses to President Snyder’s decision to approve the continuation of the Planned Parenthood Fundraiser continue to be published nationally and internationally. The Catholic Business Journal headline reads, “Courage students want the True Faith at Loyola Marymount: Students Restart Pro-life Group after Planned Parenthood fundraiser.”
The Catholic News Agency reports:
When Loyola Marymount University student Megan Glaudini heard that her university was not stopping an on-campus fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, she felt “convicted” that she needed to do something. “Upon hearing about the Planned Parenthood fundraiser on campus, originally, I was just completely disgusted and embarrassed, and disappointed that the university would allow this to happen,” she told CNA in a phone call Nov. 6. “I took a while to kind of discern what I really wanted to do, what kind of action would even make a difference, and I really felt convicted and like I needed to do something,” she said. That “something” turned out to be resurrecting the long time, inactive pro life group, and planning a rosary rally before the Planned Parenthood fundraiser.
Vita, a student run pro-life organization, rose from the dead after years of inactivity. We wish them well.
An essay about LMU entitled, “Catholic Colleges That are Not Catholic” gets a lot right, but gets something very wrong. LMU does want to be Catholic when it comes to talking to Catholic donors and parents. In fundraising and recruiting students, LMU embraces its Catholic identity. As a recent Covid inspired advertisement put it, “This past year, the LMU community has demonstrated how creativity and compassion—values central to our Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount identity—have been our North Star.” On the other hand, in terms of student life, hiring faculty and administrators, and campus climate, LMU operates as any other secular school. So, a more accurate title of this essay about LMU would be “Catholic Colleges That Are Catholic When Convenient.”
As you may know, President Snyder authorized the continuation of the Planned Parenthood Fundraiser which took place last night on campus in Roski. A peaceful and prayerful protest also took place, led by students, and joined by LMU faculty, parents, alumni, donors, and some Jesuits.
The letter found below was sent to President Snyder on November 5 at 1:30 p.m. before the Planned Parenthood Fundraiser in a last ditch effort to persuade him to call off the event. This letter was also sent to Archbishop Gomez, the Provincial of Jesuits West, and other important members of the LMU community. Archbishop Gomez, in a rare move, publicly expressed “deep disappointment” at LMU’s decision.
At around 5:00 p.m., before the fundraiser at 7:00 p.m., LMU issued a press release that said, “LMU regrets the concerns this situation has caused our community members and Catholic partners.” How sincere can your regret be if you carry out the nefarious plan anyway? Imagine a wife who discovers that her husband has a plan to cheat on her. She confronts him and begs him to break it off. He replies, “So sorry honey. I regret causing you and our children concerns. I remain firmly committed to the values of our marriage. Moving forward, I’ll try to do better.” He then goes and meets his mistress. Is this a man expressing true regret? More importantly, is he showing true regret in his actions?
LMU, apology not accepted.
Dear President Snyder,
Please find attached the names of more than 2,750 people who have signed the petition at RenewLMU.com and more than 15,000 at LifeSite in the last few days. In response to the national and international media (please see links below), your spokesman Mason Stockstill told the press that, “LMU’s core principles, reflected in its decisions, are consistent with Pope Francis’ guidance.” If this were true, then this event would already be cancelled. I can hear Pope Francis now, “Open dialogue with everyone, yes. Fundraising for abortion, no.” The difference is obvious and enormous.
Your spokesman writes, “The events, actions, or positions of student organizations, including Women in Politics, are not endorsed by the university. The fundraiser being hosted by Women in Politics is not a university-sponsored event.” This red herring makes no difference to Planned Parenthood nor to us. The money goes to Planned Parenthood regardless of whether the event is officially “sponsored” or “endorsed.” We object to the fundraising for Planned Parenthood, regardless of whether the fundraising is labeled as “sponsored” or endorsed.”
We also question explanations from university officials about a so-called compromise that gives Planned Parenthood all the money, publicity, and cooperation and gives those who object to the fundraiser a sentence on advertising that says that this event “shall not be construed as approval” by the university. In reality, this disclaimer removes none of LMU’s complicity. LMU administrators approved an event entitled “Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.” They authorized use of Roski Dining Hall for this purpose. You personally have given your approval for this event to move forward on campus despite appeals from alumni, donors, students, and allies. Who needs the verbal fig leaf of “approval” when the event was in fact approved initially by LMU administrators and approved to move forward again by you?
We hope even now that you will make the right choice rather than the politically expedient choice. Now is the time.
Samantha (Stribling) Stephenson, LMU Alum B.A. 2011, M.A. 2016, M.A. 2018
Washington Post – https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/a-student-groups-planned-parenthood-fundraiser-draws-backlash-at-catholic-university/2021/11/04/e7609dba-3db6-11ec-bd6f-da376f47304e_story.html
EWTN – https://www.ewtn.com/tv/shows/ewtn-news-nightly (Nightly News Nov 3 coverage starts at 17 min 45 sec)
Dear President Snyder,
We write to ask you to cancel Loyola Marymount University’s “Planned Parenthood Fundraiser” scheduled for November 5th at 7:00 p.m. in Roski Dining in University Hall. Founded by the eugenist and virulent anti-Black racist Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States and has been caught red-handed in the illegal sale of fetal tissues and has been complicit in sex trafficking.
As Jesuit Pope Francis said last month, “Is it right to eliminate, to take a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? That’s what abortion is.” We hope you see through rationalizations that ‘Planned Parenthood does more than just abortions.’ The mafia also produces olive oil.
Alternatively, we suggest that LMU Women in Politics, the group sponsoring the fundraiser, might select a more worthy recipient of funds, one that more effectively supports women’s dignity and whose primary purposes are not at odds with the Catholic Church. Selecting Planned Parenthood as a recipient for fundraising on a Catholic campus is decidedly divisive. A fundraiser in support of an organization that affirms rather than undermines the dignity of women would be an opportunity to build bridges, bringing together people from all sides of the table in support of women’s advancement.
This LMU event is not an academic debate but a fundraiser. As such, LMU is making an in-kind donation to the nation’s largest abortion provider. President Snyder, please take action now to prevent an egregious violation of LMU’s Jesuit, Catholic identity.
Samantha (Stribling) Stephenson, LMU Alum B.A. 2011, M.A. 2016, M.A. 2018
To support this effort, please sign below and circulate the link to this petition https://renewlmu.com/ on your social media. LMU’s President can be reached at email@example.com 310.338.2775 (voice) 310.338.2766 (fax) and @LMUSnyder
“National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Bill Fulco, S.J., retired after nearly 20 years at LMU. Scholar, teacher, curator, mentor, raconteur are among the roles Father Fulco has played since he joined the faculty in 1998. Among his many accomplishments, Father Fulco collected and preserved a museum-quality collection and founded the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts’ Archaeology Center, which enhances the educational experience of our students.
A popular teacher, Father Fulco’s courses covered a broad range of topics: God and the world of ancient Israel; ancient religions; music culture in ancient Palestine; ancient Near Eastern languages; Near Eastern archaeology; biblical archaeology and Old Testament studies; and classical numismatics. Father Fulco has traveled the world exploring those subjects, and more; he also made archeological travel available for our students, annually sponsoring digs all over the world through his NEH funding. In 2007, LMU recognized him with the Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Presidential Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on faculty by the university.
His acclaimed wit made him a sought-after speaker for gatherings of intellectuals, parents, and friends of the university. Father Fulco was the Aramaic language adviser for the film “The Passion of the Christ.” Father Fulco was born in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, graduated from Loyola High School, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1954. He was ordained in 1966. Father Fulco earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and literatures from Yale University. BCLA welcomes Prof. Caroline Sauvage to her new roles as NEH Chair and Director of the Archaeology Center, and thanks and honors Bill for his significant and impactful contributions to our community.”
We wish Fr. Fulco a wonderful retirement, and we hope that God blesses him for all his good work with so many LMU students, faculty, and staff.
This article from the Loyolan reported on what took place:
Padre Pio Society, a Catholic group on campus, placed posters on campus displaying a pro-life message on Monday, Oct. 2. The posters were down a few days later by students on campus.
Some students expressed disapproval of the message as the posters are similar in imagery and style to the posters put up by RESILIENCE and MEChA in protest of President Trump’s immigration policies. The Padre Pio Society poster reads “Don’t abort my fellow humans #NoHumanBeingIsIllegal #AbortionIsAnImmigrationIssue” while the RESILIENCE poster reads “Don’t deport my friends #NoHumanBeingIsIllegal.”
“Yeah we’ve been scrambling to take [the posters] down, Chris Lorenzo did like three buildings,” according to a Facebook page appearing to belong to senior women and gender studies major Cass Vitacco, who commented on a post of the pro-life posters.
The RESILIENCE Facebook page posted a statement the following day stating that while they supported the expression of free speech, they had no part in making or posting the posters.
Delano Perera, a senior theology and philosophy major and president of Padre Pio Society, said the posters were posted to express the Catholic Church teachings that lives of the unborn are important, and that there was no malicious thought behind the posters.
“Everyday over 1,000 babies are put to death because of abortion, and we wanted to bring awareness to this evil,” said Perera. “I […] and many of our group members come from migrant families. Some of them will be affected by DACA. We care for our migrant brothers and sisters as we care for our unborn brothers and sisters.”
Perera also said that posters with a similar message were posted last year, but were also taken down within two days.
“After engaging in conversation with other students, I have been deeply troubled by the general response to these posters,” said Shannon Hayes, a senior classics and archaeology and modern languages double major and a member of Padre Pio Society. “They were meant to draw parallels between two serious human rights issues; unfortunately, they were viewed as divisive.”
Hayes says, in the future, she hopes to work with other students and alumni to create original pro-life art to be displayed at LMU.
Some students, however, viewed the posters as a form of plagiarism and used the efforts of the RESILIENCE and MEChA students without communicating effectively first.
“I first saw the posters […] and my immediate reaction was anger,” said Paige Prevost, a senior English and film and TV production double major. “It felt like capitalizing off a movement for one’s own gain. It didn’t feel like solidarity.”
Prevost later communicated with Hayes via Facebook, who explained the original intention behind the posters. However, Prevost, who identifies as pro-life and Catholic, still believes the use of RESILIENCE’s original design in the pro-life poster and hashtags co-opts the immigration movement in a divisive and alienating way.
[One professor] criticized LMU’s lack of retribution for those who took down Padre Pio’s posters, and questions the University’s policy of free speech for ideas that some people may dislike.
“Rather than engage the argument that all human beings deserve basic rights, the critics of pro-life view attempt to stifle the free exchange of ideas … If ‘pro-choice’ people are so confident in the truth of their view, why do they need to silence those who disagree?”
A faculty survey in 2014 revealed that “Conservative Catholics feel they are in an environment that is hostile to what they feel are true Catholic values.”
According to this survey, only 24 percent of those who took the survey identified as Roman Catholic.
“Our group members have been called names and mocked for standing up for Church teaching,” Perera said. “Being a Catholic is not easy, but Jesus said we must pick up our crosses and follow him. If my cross is to be ridiculed by my peers and professors then that is what I must do to follow Christ.”
Recall that just last year, a Catholic employee who removed LGBT signs was accused of a “hate crime”, denounced publicly, and subject to investigation by the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT). Now Catholic students are saying they are harrassed, their signs taken down, and their pro-life message censored. Will President Synder defend these students with the same vigor, energy, and public visibility that he showed last year in defending people at LMU with messages opposed to Catholic teaching? Does mocking and naming calling not matter if it is against pro-life Catholic students? If “all are welcome,” Catholics at a Catholic university sharing a Catholic message should not be silenced, harassed, or made to feel like second-class citizens.
A terrific LMU student organization, the Padre Pio Society, is planning a public rosary on Saturday, October 14th in honor of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. The students will meet at 12 noon in Alumni Mall on the grassy area between the VDA building and the fountain (Foley Pond). They invite alumni and friends to join them for this rosary during Respect Life Month.
Fr. Thomas Rausch S.J. began his teaching career at LMU in 1967. A prolific author, Fr. Rausch holds an endowed professorship as T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology. Fr. Rausch has also served LMU as the Director of Campus Ministry, Chair of the Theological Studies Department, Associate Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, and Rector of the Jesuit Community.
Fr. Robert Caro, S.J. retires this semester as Vice President for Mission and Ministry. Before coming to the upper administration in 2006, Fr. Caro spent 30 years as a member of the English faculty, teaching, among other courses, Shakespeare, the Poetry of Meditation, and Women in the Bible. His research and publications focused on the Jesuit poet G.M. Hopkins and on links between the Ignatian Rules for Discernment and characterization in Shakespeare.
We commend these two Jesuit priests for their generous service to so many LMU students as well as to innumerable faculty and staff. Combined, they have given the University more than 80 years of service. May God richly bless them for all the good work that they have done, and may God grant them many golden years of healthy and happy retirement.
Since the time of Father Thomas P. O’Malley, S.J., the President of LMU has sponsored a week-long summer seminar for faculty to help them gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic character of LMU. This annual event, sponsored since 1996, once provided a collegial setting in which to explore an aspect of LMU’s ethos as a Catholic, Jesuit-Marymount university. It was one of the few institutionally provided opportunities for LMU faculty to better understand and explore the distinctive Catholic mission and identity of the university.
President Snyder has canceled this program for 2017. With fewer and fewer Catholic professors, and more and more signs of loss of Catholic identity, LMU needs programs like the Summer Institute now more than ever. Under President Snyder, LMU’s Catholic identity is moving from the magis to the minus.