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Faculty senate postpones vote on motion of no confidence in Jenkins

| Tuesday, October 27, 2020

This report was updated Oct. 27 at 1:24 p.m.

The Notre Dame faculty senate delayed an emergency meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday where a vote on a motion of no confidence in University President Fr. John Jenkins would have occurred. A new date for the vote has not been set.

The meeting was postponed to avoid overlap with the scheduled memorial Mass for first-year students Valeria Espinel and Olivia Laura Rojas who died Saturday morning, faculty senate chair Tom Stober said in an email to The Observer.

Faculty senate vice chair CJ Jones alerted the senators of the postponement in a Monday email, saying the community should have time to mourn together.

“Please be patient as we work to find a new time at which Fr. John Jenkins may also be present to address us in person,” Jones said in the email. “In the meantime, we join you in sorrow and prayer for our students, their families and their friends.”

The motion of no confidence comes after Jenkins’ controversial attendance of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony in Washington D.C. in late September, WSBT reported Monday.

At the nomination event, Jenkins failed to wear a mask or socially distance, actions he later said he regretted in a statement the following day. He tested positive for the coronavirus that week and announced his recovery Oct. 12.

The Notre Dame student senate passed a formal motion condemning Jenkins’ actions Oct. 8, after initially rejecting a resolution calling for his resignation.

The faculty senate postponed the motion Oct. 6 by a narrow vote of 21-20. According to WSBT, Jenkins has requested to speak to the Senate during the Zoom meeting.

The meeting will be held in Executive Session, and no students or press can attend. Stober said he’s “treating this with the utmost seriousness.”

The motion starts by citing the University’s policies on essential travel and then cites Washington D.C.’s protocols regarding the visitors quarantining period of 14 days and its mandatory mask order.

“Jenkins failed to abide by the University policy that the travel he engage in be essential and of immediate importance to the University’s core mission of teaching and research,” the motion said in its conclusion.

A second motion, drafted by senate members in opposition of the no confidence vote, will also be discussed at the meeting. This motion would inform “Jenkins and his team” of the senate’s appreciation for the University’s presence on campus this semester and for continuing to provide testing. Any final resolution will be posted on the faculty senate website.

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