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Faculty senate votes on motion of disappointment after Jenkins fails to abide by University policy

| Friday, November 6, 2020

Notre Dame faculty senate passed a vote of disappointment in light of University President Fr. John Jenkins decision to attend Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination without a mask at the White House ceremony.

This amended motion was passed in response to a motion of no confidence brought to the faculty senate.

After failing to wear a mask or socially distance at the Rose Garden ceremony Oct. 8, Jenkins tested positive for COVID-19. Although Jenkins released a statement expressing his regret for his actions, the Notre Dame student senate passed a formal motion condemning Jenkins’ actions Oct. 8.

While the faculty senate’s passed motion acknowledged Jenkins’ failure to abide by University precautions concerning COVID-19 and expressed its disappointment, the motion also accepted Jenkins’ apology for his actions.

The meeting was held in Executive Session, which prevented students and press from attending. The faculty senate was scheduled to vote on a motion of no confidence Oct. 27, but the meeting was postponed to avoid overlap with the memorial Mass of two first-year students who died Oct. 24.

The faculty senate was also slated to discuss a second motion which was drafted in opposition to the no confidence votes to express appreciation for the University’s presence on campus. The vote of appreciation was postponed until the next meeting.

In regards to the criticism surrounding Jenkins’ actions in the Rose Garden ceremony, Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees affirmed its “unwavering confidence” in Jenkins, Board Chair John J. Brennan said in a statement.

“In our view, courageous is a very appropriate adjective to describe Fr. Jenkins,” Brennan said. “He has demonstrated great personal character, humility and courage by addressing the University community after attending the Rose Garden reception, publicly acknowledging that, at that particular event, he ‘failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.’”

Brennan also praised Jenkins’ commitment to Notre Dame’s mission of teaching, scholarship and research.

“Let us be very clear. Fr. Jenkins has consistently led by word and example throughout his presidency and especially during this pandemic,” he said. “Fr. Jenkins is a leader of exceptional character, faith and vision, and we are proud that he is president of the University of Notre Dame.”

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