Following several months of consideration and review, Notre Dame, one of the nation's most high-profile Catholic universities, announced that it would move toward adding “a student organization tasked with providing services and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) students and their allies,” reported the university's student newspaper, the Observer. The paper said the move came after years of lobbying by homosexual activists for a “Gay-Straight Alliance” at the university.
On December 5, Notre Dame's president, Father John Jenkins, signed off on recommendations from Notre Dame's Office of Student Affairs to “expand and enhance the support and services for students who identify” as GLBTQ. According to the Observer, Jenkins said the plan “grows out of our mission as a Catholic university [and is] directed by that fundamental mission in a profound way.”
A Notre Dame press release explained that the plan for the initiative came after “a study of Catholic doctrine and teaching, listening sessions with Notre Dame students, and an examination of student clubs and structures at other Catholic universities.” The release insisted that the plan is “rooted in Catholic teaching on sexuality and gender identity,” and “calls all Notre Dame students to cultivate chaste relationships and to support one another in a community of friendship.”
Among Notre Dame's plans for supporting homosexuals are:
• The establishment of a “support and service student organization for GLBTQ students and their allies that will produce activities consistent with Notre Dame’s Catholic allegiance and commitments.”
• The launch of an advisory committee of students and staff to address the supposedly unique needs of students who identify as homosexual, transgender, or “questioning.”
• The appointment of a full-time staff member who will serve as a liaison between “GLBTQ” students and other Notre Dame departments.
Father Jenkins said he thought “if people look carefully at what we’re doing and really, in a thoughtful way, evaluate it, I think thoughtful people will see that this makes sense. It makes sense for a Catholic university like Notre Dame to provide such structures to serve their students effectively.” He added that he was confident “this multi-faceted, pastoral approach represents the next step in advancing our efforts toward this aspiration for our GLBTQ students.”
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