Sign Petition

Reconsider Washington Appointment

1,898 Signatures Goal: 1,000

PETITION TO THE FELLOWS OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME


We, the undersigned alumni, spouses, parents, students, and friends of Notre Dame, respectfully request the Fellows of the University to arrange for the departure from the Board of Trustees of Ms. Katie Washington.


We submit that this recent appointment was a serious mistake with potentially damaging consequences to the university’s effort to secure relief from the HHS abortifacient / contraceptive / sterilization mandate. The appointment, that is, may undermine Notre Dame’s lawsuit because of Ms. Washington’s now widely known public support of that mandate and her belittling the religious liberty claims that Notre Dame and other Church and religious organizations have asserted.

The Cardinal Newman Society broke the story, Sycamore Trust followed after the university did not respond to its request for comment, the story has been carried by a number of news sources, and it was a major topic of discussion among alumni at Sycamore Trust’s May 31 sold-out annual conference. And because of its relation to the mandate litigation, it will not go away.


This is not a matter of a board member’s disagreeing with one or another aspect of Catholic teaching or with one or another action of the university.


It is a matter, rather, of the university’s governing body appointing as trustee a person in public opposition to the school’s religious liberty claim in a lawsuit in which the courts have already expressed skepticism about the school’s sincerity.


Notre Dame will have to overcome those doubts in a trial even if some other religious organization wins in the Supreme Court, unless the government uncharacteristically concedes and no other party intervenes. As Fellows, you will likely be challenged as to how your appointment of Ms. Washington can be reconciled with the school’s – that is, your – claim of conscience.


The risk already exists that the country’s most prominent Catholic university might be the only religious organization to lose its suit. This appointment exacerbates that risk.


Apart from this consideration, the appointment does not comport with the injunction of the bishops of the United States in their “Application for Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States” that:


“Each member of the board must be committed to the practical implications of the university’s Catholic identity.”


This requirement is itself a “practical implementation” of the obligation of the Fellows to maintain “at all times” the “essential character of the University as a Catholic institution.” (Statutes of the University)


An important “practical implication” of the school’s Catholic identity is the university’s assertion of its religious liberty claim. Ms. Washington not only is not committed to this “practical implication” but is hostile to it.


Finally, the appointment as trustee of a person who publicly declares that “universal contraceptive coverage is a matter of reproductive justice” that trumps religious liberty casts doubt on Notre Dame’s Catholic identity quite apart from the potential impact on the litigation. Private views about personal decisions are one thing; public declarations about public policy antagonistic to the Church and Catholic institutions are quite another.


We cannot refrain from expressing deep wonderment over this appointment. It is scarcely conceivable to us that there was no vetting at all, but the sketchiest inquiry – simply entering “Katie Washington” and “contraception” or even just “Johns Hopkins” in Google – would have turned up this information. But it is also scarcely conceivable to us that, if you knew of these facts, you would have appointed Ms. Washington. In either case, while we are sorry indeed that Ms. Washington has been put in this position, we submit that vital interests of the university require the decision be nullified.

2

Highlights

June 5
The Cardinal Newman Society has issued a stunning report of the appointment as a Notre Dame trustee of an alumna who has publicly supported the Obamacare contraceptive/abortifacient mandate and harshly condemned "Catholic leaders" and religious organizations who have raised religious liberty objections. Leaders, that is, like the bishops, and organizations like Notre Dame. For the full story, go to http://sycamoretrust.org/bulletins/140526.php
June 4
We are now live!
  • Thomas Condon, MBA '69
    Nov 03, 2014
    Nov 03, 2014
    Please terminate theappointment of Katie Washington fromthe ND Board Of Trustees.
  • Thomas Condon, MBA '69
    Thomas Condon, MBA '69 United States
    Nov 03, 2014
    Nov 03, 2014
    Please terminate theappointment of Katie Washington fromthe ND Board Of Trustees.
  • David V. Kaple
    David V. Kaple United States, Mansfield
    Oct 02, 2014
    Oct 02, 2014
    I am a 1981 graduate, have raised 5 children, and I am very glad none have demonstrated an interest in attending ND. I do not even recongnize the school any longer. That pains me to write these words. Our two oldest, a son and daughter, with both be commissioned 2nd LT's in the United States Army when they graduate from West Point in May 2015. Keep up the fight Sycamore Trust!
  • Steven J. Fugelsang
    Steven J. Fugelsang United States, Shoreham
    Sep 07, 2014
    Sep 07, 2014
    Class of 2007
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1664

Signatures

  • 8 months ago
    Thomas Condon, MBA '69
    8 months ago
  • 9 months ago
    David V. Kaple
    9 months ago
  • 9 months ago
    Frances Arnone United States
    9 months ago
  • 10 months ago
    Michael Gazzerro
    10 months ago
  • 10 months ago
    Steven J. Fugelsang
    10 months ago
  • 10 months ago
    Michael J. O'Neil United States
    10 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Joseph M. Toddy United States
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Cal Meierbachtol United States
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Jeffrey Gainey United States
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Theresa Lauber
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Pierre V. Miller II United States
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Timothy Kapshandy
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Jerriann Schmelter
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Thomas Dinges United States
    11 months ago
  • 11 months ago
    Michael Roman United States
    11 months ago
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