LMU Hires Atheist as Liberal Arts Dean – Our Letter to Supporters

Dear LMU Alumni, Parents and Friends:

We wrote to you last month, or you perhaps heard from friends or news accounts, that RenewLMU was in need of your assistance to encourage Loyola Marymount University to “hire for mission” in the selection of the next Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. To everyone who signed our petition to President David Burcham, we offer our sincere thanks for your valuable support and words of encouragement.

On Wednesday of Holy Week, Pres. Burcham announced that he has hired Dr. Robbin Crabtree, one of the two candidates about which we expressed concern, to serve as the new Dean. As RenewLMU and news sources reported earlier, Dr. Crabtree has worked for both Planned Parenthood and for a pro-choice political action committee. She has not publicly disavowed these associations or the philosophies they embrace.

Since relating to you the difficulties with the BCLA Dean selection process, RenewLMU learned that Dr. Crabtree is a professed atheist. We conveyed this new information first to Pres. Burcham but received no reply, although he has confirmed this fact to others in writing. Consequently, and despite her atheism, Dean Crabtree will now make hiring decisions for the mission critical departments of Theological Studies, Philosophy, Bioethics, and Catholic Studies, among others.

Some of you may have received an email from President Burcham or from Fr. Robert Caro, S.J., the Vice President for Mission and Ministry, justifying this hiring decision.  Please be assured RenewLMU did not disclose your email address and will never do so.  We believe LMU obtained addresses from their Alumni database.  We also believe that the arguments given by Fr. Caro and President Burcham are unsound and you can read our written response here.

Sadly, the hiring of this new Dean is only the most recent step LMU has taken away from its Catholic identity. On our “LMU Year In Review” webpage, we detail several such setbacks from just the previous year. Among them are the words spoken by President Burcham about women and abortion during his Convocation, the candidates chosen as finalists to head the Bioethics Institute, the University’s adoption of third-party insurance coverage for elective abortion, and the complete lack of observance on campus of Pope Francis’ Year of Faith.

Now we have good news for youEven though this latest move toward secularization is alarming, there are significant signs your efforts are having a positive effect. More than 1,335 LMU alumni, donors, students, parents, faculty, staff and people concerned with LMU’s Catholic identity signed our petition urging Pres. Burcham to restart the search process and ensure the new Dean will be an “uncompromising witness…to the Church’s moral teaching.”

And it’s very encouraging that stories about RenewLMU’s efforts have been published by the Cardinal Newman Society, National Catholic Register, Catholic News Agency, Life Site News, Live Action, and the paper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, The Tidings.  As a result, more people are aware of LMU’s endangered Catholic identity, and more people than ever are taking steps to renew LMU as a genuinely Catholic university. There is every reason for hope.

To help make this hope a reality, we are delighted to let you know RenewLMU has become a California corporation and will soon be able to receive donations to support the mission to renew LMU’s Catholic identity.

And we invite you now to express your own opinion publicly about LMU’s choice for the new dean and its implications for the future of a Catholic LMU. You may do so here. We will forward your comments to the University President, Board of Trustees, Board of Regents, and Archbishop Gomez.

Please forward this letter to everyone you know who cares about advancing LMU’s Catholic identity. Thank you again for your support and do keep both LMU and RenewLMU in your prayers.


Philip Zampiello

Loyola Marymount Class of 1993
RenewLMU Chair

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