RenewLMU began its work in March 2013. In the months that followed, there were troubling developments and glaring omissions with respect to LMU’s Catholic mission and identity. Some of these are outlined below.
LMU hosts Lori Baralt, an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, and a faculty advisor to a pro-abortion rights student group, Choice USA. The group’s stated mission is “to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, and empower young people to have agency over their own bodies and relationships.”
LMU invites three pro-abortion professors and only one pro-life professor on campus to interview for Director of Bioethics position. After a letter writing campaign by RenewLMU, all four candidates are suddenly dropped from consideration and an LMU professor is hired for the position.
More than 80 professors of the faculty, including many Theological Studies professors, sign an advertisement in the Loyolan urging LMU to cover elective abortion in its health care benefits plan.
The LMU Board of Trustees votes to facilitate a third party providing elective abortion insurance for LMU employees.
In Presidential Convocation Address in Sacred Heart Chapel, President Burcham referred to abortion and abortion insurance coverage as “first and foremost primarily women’s issues” and warned that “men must be careful.” See: http://academics.lmu.edu/president/speechesandletters/2013presidentialconvocation/
(Starting at 27:18)
President Burcham reminds the audience that “we are not a parish, a seminary or convent.” The President calls for the organization of a committee to facilitate discussions on Catholic identity. Brietta Clark, an attorney from Loyola Law School, and an abortion rights advocate, subsequently leads the first committee discussion.
LMU fails to increase the number of Catholic faculty. LMU refuses to track faculty religious affiliation, though it does track their gender and ethnicity. University officials admit to The New York Times in October that the percentage of Catholic faculty at LMU is “well below 50%.” Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Part II, Art. 4 requires that Catholic universities maintain a majority Catholic faculty. See:
The New York Times further reported that while Catholics still make up at least 70 percent of the student bodies at Boston College and Notre Dame, only about half of incoming freshmen at Loyola Marymount identified themselves as Catholic this year. LMU students reported to the New York Times “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.” See: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/07/us/abortion-vote-exposes-rift-at-catholic-university.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
After reportedly receiving over 100 resumes for Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, LMU’s selection committee invites only two candidates – both with affiliations to Planned Parenthood – for on-campus interviews.
One candidate (Ramon Gutierrez) reported working as a consultant to Planned Parenthood, and was also on the Organization of American Historians’ Committee of LGBTQ Historians and Histories, which issued a statement in July 2013 praising the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn California’s constitutional amendment to protect marriage.
The other candidate (Robbin Crabtree) while a professor at DePauw University, served over the course of three years on the Advisory Board and Media Committee of Planned Parenthood Putnam County, Indiana. Ms. Crabtree also was a member of a political action committee that reportedly endorses pro-abortion candidates for public office.
Ms. Crabtree, an atheist, is ultimately selected to be the next Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.
On May 17, 2014, LMU hosts Sue Dunlap, President of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. LMU’s School of Education sponsored a TEDx Conference which provided Ms. Dunlap a pulpit from which to promote her organization – the largest abortion provider in the United States. In a letter to concerned alumni, the Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Shane Martin, claimed to have no control over the event. Yet after receiving hundreds of complaints from RenewLMU supporters, the university subsequently altered the program to add a Catholic presenter just hours before the event took place. Ms. Dunlap’s presentation can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6-8zPV2gRE
Year of Faith Activities on Campus in 2013: None.
LMU’s Mission Statement says that the university is dedicated to the “promotion of faith.” Yet, LMU held not one retreat, service, seminar or other event to promote or even recognize the Year of Faith, which ended in November 2013.
Student Pro-Life Organizations in 2013/14: None.
USC, Stanford and other secular universities in California have large and active student pro-life organizations. LMU has no pro-life student organization.
This is truly disgraceful!! How do we stop this? Doesn’t the Holy See have anyone that can oversee these universities and make sure they are cleaned up?
Thank you for this update.
Suggestion: Requests to Alumni to organize prayer groups for the specific purpose of reclaiming LMU’s Catholic identity.
I find this absolutely shocking. As though an Atheist was the only ‘qualified’ candidate.
Also,who was responsible for hiring this latest President? He must go. Exactly what was the purpose of the Mission Statement?
Now wondering just how many’ Catholic’ Universities are CATHOLIC?
I will pray every day for all those Universities. Please,if you know ,can you share whether or not there is an action plan?
Mary Rose Garon