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Disappointed in the University

| Monday, November 6, 2017

Dear Ms. Duffy,

Do you know what I would fight for?
Women’s health rights and equal access to modern healthcare.
One of the great benefits protected by the Affordable Care Act is women’s access to these services, which positively impact social determinants of health and help progress equality for women and reality-based family planning.
Notre Dame’s recent administrative decision to exclude itself from offering this coverage through Aetna for its employees and students is a disgusting demonstration, and one which results in this alumnus (and others like me) to choose not to ever donate our money, our kind words of support, or any ounce of additional thought or energy to the Notre Dame cause.
Notre Dame, unlike the women whose coverage is impacted by your choices, has the power to choose sane, rational, caring and modern approaches in its organizational decision making, and, in this instance, and in many others like it before, the University chooses to regress.
And while that may be this organization’s choice, it is one that myself and others like me choose not to live with, so you can’t have my money, but you can certainly have my degree back at your choosing — it is neither relevant nor valuable to this member of modern society.
Best regards,
Drew Updike M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., A.B.I.M. certified
Brown University Internal Medicine 2013
Tulane University School of Medicine 2010, School of Public Health 2010
University of Notre Dame B.A. 2005
Nov. 4

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • conway0516

    Hmm…I guess now that you have all of those fancy letters after your name, you can throw away your BA. I’m sorry that the degree in Anthropology came so easily to you and whomever paid for it that you can simply toss it back at the University. I’m sorry you felt the degree didn’t help you with any other facet of your life. I’m sorry it wasn’t a stepping stone to your two other degrees.

    I’ve never seen such a pompous display of arrogance in my life.

    I’m sorry you feel your opinion as a human being is not worth anything without the list of degrees and board certifications you were compelled to provide in order to qualify your argument which really has little to do with the science behind the medicine. You made it more of a financial/social/political argument than anything else and that could have been provided by anyone, degrees or not. Regardless of what your actual opinion is, it is worth equally as much as everyone else’s who reads and contributes to the Observer. And anyone who is reading or contributing has some tie to Notre Dame, or wishes they did. The same tie you’re flippantly looking to throw away. Check your ego at the door.

    • Drew Updike

      Dear Richard,

      Thank you for reading my letter and sharing how it made you feel. Running it in the Observer was intended to stimulate conversation, and I am glad that it has served that purpose. Sending it to the Alumni Association was it’s original destination, and, because that was the context it which it was written, I would like to expand on a couple of the issues which you found distressing. While you may not agree with the positions shared, I hope that you can at least understand where they are coming from.

      (1) The alphabet soup listed behind my name is not intended to intimidate or qualify, but rather is one professional addressing another, as this is an unmodified copy of the letter written to a specific professional within the Alumni Association. I apologize if it was taken any other way.

      (2) You, as a person, Richard, are worth much more than your degree, and you always will be. Your insights and opinions are valuable now, and they will continue to evolve after you graduate. Your experience can neither be taken away nor thrown away; and my letter was not intended to imply that my experiences at Notre Dame – from the lasting friendships made to the support I received from many educators – do not still hold special meaning for me.

      That being said, as alums, one can be in a unique position to offer perspective. The closing lines of my letter are intended to demonstrate to the UND administration and alumni organization that we are paying attention, we are awake to causes that matter to us, and we shall not blindly donate or help expand the brand while actions as pervasive as these are applauded. If offering them the degree results in additional consideration on this issue, and perhaps a positive change, then that is a length I am willing to go to see that realized.

      One can only be as good as one is in the present, and I would expect Notre Dame to be a lot better than they are being right now. I hope that this dialogue can help the university grow in positive ways. Any and all feedback you have about this is welcome.

      Best regards,


      • conway0516

        Dr. Drew – you talk a lot, but you don’t say a whole bunch. Either way, it looks like you can generously open your wallet again, which assumes you have in the past.

        Also, I’m not sure why you think my name is Richard. It’s not. Unless it’s a backhanded way of calling me Dick.

  • Ballout_Irish


    One, the alphabet soup behind your name is hilarious. Congratulations.
    Two, as I’m sure you know, Notre Dame is a Catholic school. In accordance with the 1st amendment, Our Lady’s University can and should uphold the values of the Catholic Church, as it is a distinct part of the University’s identity. The school certainly has the right to do so… see Constitution. Your expectation that the school should do otherwise is thus outlandish. Call up UCLA or UM, they’ll supply all the birth control you would like.

    I would expect better from someone with so many degrees lol.

    Try better,