Catholic World News

Marquette faculty members rap school's decision not to appoint lesbian dean

May 25, 2010

A group of faculty members at Jesuit-run Marquette University have joined in a public statement decrying the school's decision to back away from the appointment of a lesbian professor as dean.

In a full-page ad published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Marquette faculty members charged that the university's administration gave ground to "outside influences"-- an apparent reference to Milwaukee's Archbishop Jerome Listecki, who had raised objections to the appointment of Jodi O'Brien as dean. The decision to rescind that appointment "puts academic freedom at risk at Marquette University," the professors charged. "We will not be silent until the integrity of our university is restored," they said.

In an answering statement, the Marquette administration said that the decision to rescind O'Brien's appointment was motivated by concerns about the Catholic identity of the school. "It certainly not a decision based on fear, outside pressure or, as has unfortunately been alleged, on discrimination because of sexual orientation," the administration claimed. The statement added that the administration reached this decision on its own, not in response to outside pressures.

In the newspaper ad denouncing the decision, Marquette professors were joined by teachers at another Jesuit institution, the University of Seattle.

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - May. 26, 2010 4:47 PM ET USA

    Haroldjeffers: It depends upon Ms. O'Brien's lifestyle. If she is living openly with another woman in a lesbian relationship, then this is considered a serious sin, and the University would have grounds. Why do we know that she is a lesbian? Hmmm? Most people don't advertise their sexual proclivities/orientations. At any rate, they shouldn't, unless they believe, as do homosexuals, that their sexual identity is determinate of their identity as persons. Heteros believe this is only a part.

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 25, 2010 9:09 PM ET USA

    Marquette, their website states, is Catholic and Jesuit...interesting the distinction....

  • Posted by: - May. 25, 2010 8:30 PM ET USA

    I'm sorry, but this does sound like the whole issue is about Jodi's sexual orientation. If she is proven in a scholarly vein, and is not teaching outside the Church's Magisterium, and is in communion with the Holy Father, then she should be given the respect and support due. I think it would be very hard to judge her unless she is openly teaching against the Church's Magisterium. For once, I find myself supporting the Jesuits. Who would've thunk it?