Catholic university’s decision to name dean finalists who worked for abortion giant brings protest

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Planned Parenthood kills babies. The Catholic church saves babies. And never the twain shall meet. Unless the crossroads is Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, CA. LMU is a Jesuit Catholic school that has recently named two finalists for the position of Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. Both finalists have worked for Planned Parenthood. This news has spurred an online petition letter from RenewLMU, asking LMU’s president to reopen the search and find candidates who uphold the university’s Catholic values.

In fact, the National Catholic Register reports that of  “600 people contacted by the executive recruiter, they received 85 applications” for the dean’s position. The Register notes that:

“The search committee, led by professor Shane Martin, selected professor Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut, and professor Ramón Gutiérrez of the University of Chicago as top finalists.

“Crabtree had listed on a 2007 résumé that she had served with the advisory board and media relations committee for Planned Parenthood of Putnam County, Ind., from 1991-1993. Gutiérrez also listed on a 2006 résumé that he worked as a consultant for Planned Parenthood, specifically regarding “Hispanic attitudes toward sexuality.”

“The Register confirmed that Crabtree did not disclose her past affiliation with Planned Parenthood on the résumé she provided to LMU. However, the Register did find that Gutierrez had his work with Planned Parenthood on page 6 of the résumé he sent to LMU.”

RenewLMU is, “an alliance of students, alumni, faculty, donors, and other LMU supporters who seek to strengthen LMU’s Catholic mission and identity. LMU’s motto is ‘For the Greater Glory of God.’”

The association is imploring the university president to respond to this clear inconsistency from the mission of LMU and the potential hires of a school that includes departments of Theology, Philosophy, and Pastoral Studies.

LMU’s own website says it supports the Catholic church:

“The University is institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism and takes its fundamental inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.  This Catholic identity and religious heritage distinguish LMU from other universities and provide touchstones for understanding our threefold mission.”

However, to choose as finalists, two people who have worked to further the largest abortion provider in America means that LMU is, in fact, not distinguished from other universities.

Because LMU is a Catholic university, it is right to expect that at least on the surface, the university would support a pro-life ideology. To have narrowed a major search for a leadership position down to two people who have labored to further the precise opposite of the Catholic mission is problematic.

The text of the petition letter is as follows:

“Dear President Burcham:

“I want you to know how disappointed I am in the two finalist candidates recently announced for the position of Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.  

“The fact that both candidates worked for Planned Parenthood, and that one of them joined in issuing a statement praising the redefinition of marriage in California, indicates something is very wrong. The search committee was either insufficiently diligent in checking facts or it lacked sensitivity to Catholic values in qualifying applicants for this most important position.

“The departments of Theology, Philosophy, and Pastoral Studies are ‘mission critical’ to the University, and should not be overseen by someone whose views are incongruous with the Catholic Faith. The failure of this selection process demonstrates the urgent need to reform the method of qualifying candidates for academic and administrative positions. If Loyola Marymount University is “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism,” and if the University “takes philosophical and theological disciplines seriously,” then it is time, starting now, to hire for mission.

“President Burcham, make adherence to genuine Catholic principles the New Diversity at LMU!

“Please re-start this selection process and ensure the new Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts demonstrates a strong record of furthering Catholic mission and identity so that LMU will be, in the words of Pope Francis, an “uncompromising witness…to the Church’s moral teaching.”


Those interested may sign the letter here.

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