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Daly accepts position to be head of task force

Sarah Mervosh | Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The University announced earlier this week that 2010 Notre Dame alumnae Mary Daly has been appointed to the newly created position of coordinator for University Life Initiatives.

Daly, a former president of the University’s Right to Life club, will be in charge of implementing the recommendations set forth by last year’s Task Force on Supporting the Choice of Life.

“I am very pleased with the University’s decision to create this position and I’m grateful and honored to have been invited to work with the University on this,” Daly said.

Daly will serve as a liaison between various University units to facilitate collaboration on life issues and will also work to deepen the sanctity for life within the Notre Dame community and beyond, according to the press release.

University President Fr. John Jenkins created the pro-life task force a year ago to make recommendations on how the University can support the sanctity of life.

“I would like to thank the members of the task force for their exemplary service over the course of the last academic year,” Jenkins said, “and I look forward to continued progress in this important area as we work together in future years.”

The task force was created partially in response to the controversy over President Obama’s 2009 Commencement Address.

As an undergraduate, Daly was a leader of ND Response, a student group that held prayerful protests opposing the administration’s decision to invite Obama. The group also requested to meet with Jenkins regarding the issue, but was denied.

Jenkins withdrew his invitation to meet with the group because “they issued a set of demands as a precondition to meeting,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said in an April 17, 2009, issue of The Observer.

But Jenkins said the sanctity of life is more important than past disagreements.

“We all must learn to disagree respectfully when necessary, yet work together on issues of profound importance. Mary and I share a deep commitment to the sanctity of life,” he said. “As a student, she was a responsible and energetic leader on campus, and now I am delighted to work with her … on current and new initiatives related to life issues.”

Daly said her previous conflict with the administration would not affect her ability to perform in her new position.

Daly said part of the task force’s recommendation was to create more permanent structures to coordinate pro-life efforts in the long term. One of her first initiatives will be to assist in the organization of a faculty advisory committee on life initiatives, which will be chaired by John Cavadini, the McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute of Church Life.

Daly also plans to strengthen the University’s supportive policies for pregnant and parenting students and to create academic scholarship related to life issues across campus.

Daly’s office will be in the Institute for Church Life. She will report to Cavadini, and through him report to Jenkins.