University releases statement on mass shooting manifesto connection to marketing professor
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, May 19, 2022
The article was updated May 24 at 10:28 a.m.
The University released a statement Thursday, May 19 regarding the use of Mendoza College of Business professor John Gaski’s 2013 “Investors’ Business Daily” article in a manifesto connected to a recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.
The statement was released via the University’s website and Instagram stories Thursday afternoon and acknowledged that Gaski’s post was cited by the alleged perpetrator of “heinous murders” in his document.
“We are appalled that a 2013 article by John Gaski, an associated professor at Notre Dame, was cited by the perpetrator of the heinous murders of innocent people in Buffalo,” vice president of public affairs and communications Joel Curran said in the University’s statement. “Whatever Professor Gaski’s intentions, we deeply regret that his words were used to support a doctrine of racial hatred.”
The mass shooting occurred on the afternoon of May 14 at a supermarket in downtown Buffalo. Overall, 10 people were killed and three were left injured. Eleven of the victims were African American, and authorities are investigating the event as ’racially motivated violent extremism.’
After the shooting, a manifesto circulated online, attributed to the shooter, an 18-year-old charged with first-degree murder.
While authorities have confirmed they are looking into the manifesto widely believed to be written by the shooter, they have not confirmed its authenticity. However, the 180-page document includes extensive details about preparations made for the shooting as well as biographical detail.
Many came to know of Gaski’s article and connection to the manifesto following a social media post posted Tuesday, May 17 by alumna Liz Hynes ‘17, a writer on the late-night comedy show “Last Week Tonight.”
“This petty, intellectually dishonest piece, dripping in racial animus, has forever linked The University of Notre Dame to a white supremacist murderer. No marketing on earth can undo that. But an acknowledgment would be a start,” Hynes wrote.
The University also posted its statement in the comments of Hynes’ identical post on Instagram.
On page 19 of the manifesto, the shooter links to a 2013 article by Gaski titled, “A Discussion on Race, Crime and the Inconvenient Facts,“ for a statistic claiming that “Black men are over a hundred times more likely to rape a white woman than vice versa.”
The article followed the killing of Trayvon Martin, and Gaski wrote that he sought to dispel the “media message” that “there [is] an established tendency for blacks to be victims of interracial violence in the United States.”
Gaski prefaces his argument on the numbers by writing, “I would rather not report what is known about U.S. interracial rape statistics because it could be taken as incendiary, but the previous numbers in terms of black/white proclivity are dwarfed.”
Gaski’s article says that “the number of white-on-black rapes is so low nationally in any given year, the ratio ranges from 100-to-1 to infinity.“ Gaski cites the Department of Justice, Criminal Victimization in the U.S. statistics.
Gaski’s curriculum vitae, posted to the College’s website, lists an extensive record of publication, including several pieces arguing for the birther theory, which alleged that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
The Observer has not yet received a comment on the situation from Gaski.
The University’s statement also called for the Notre Dame community to speak and act without hatred or discrimination.
“We urge all, at Notre Dame or elsewhere, to speak and act in ways that never give harbor to hatred and violence,” Curran said in the release.
On Tuesday, May 24 the South Bend Tribune reported that the estate of Gaski and his late parents agreed in 2008 to fund an endowed professorship. A screenshot posted by the Tribune of internet archives of the University’s gift planning website said Gaski is the first faculty member to “provide for his own successors in perpetuity.” The Tribune reported that the webpage of the professorship was still online as of May 13, the day before the shooting, but has since been removed.
A University official said the article was removed to “avoid confusion about university endowments,” according to the Tribune. Notre Dame officials added that Gaski’s planned donations did not affect the University’s handling of the situation and confirmed that Gaski is still employed by the University, the Tribune reported.