Notre Dame University Fires Pro-Life Staffer for Joining Obama-Abortion Protest

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notre Dame University Fires Pro-Life Staffer for Joining Obama-Abortion Protest

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 3
, 2010

South Bend, IN ( — Because he participated in the protest students, staff and pro-life supporters backed when Notre Dame University decided to allow pro-abortion President Barack Obama to give its commencement speech, Associate Vice-President for Residence Life Bill Kirk apparently lost his job.

Father Tom Doyle, Notre Dame’s new Vice-President for Student Affairs reportedly fired Kirk, who had spent nearly 22 years with the college.

Dr. David Solomon, a Notre Dame professor, penned a column in the conservative Irish Rover newspaper laying out what happened, and it is already causing a buzz on the Internet and in Catholic circles.

"The decision was both unfair and imprudent. It was unfair, because, as a loyal employee of Notre Dame for almost 22 years—and one who had been placed repeatedly in positions where he took the brunt of public criticism for enforcing policies adopted by his superiors—he deserved better from those superiors than to be removed from office with no notice and with no public explanation for his removal," Solomon wrote.

Solomon noted how Bill and his wife Elizabeth were active in pro-life activities on campus and with the response to the Obama speech.

And as an official faculty advisor to the Right to Life Club, Elizabeth served as primary advisor to the student coalition formed in the spring of 2009 as “NDResponse” and served as a conduit for many, including junior, untenured faculty members, who were unwilling to get involved directly for fear of reprisal.

"Without compromising his administrative duties, Bill stood with the students of NDResponse at their rally on the South Quad on Commencement day," he said. "He was the only senior administrator at Notre Dame willing to do so."

"At the time Bill took part in the NDResponse rally, many people commented on the courage it took for him to stand with his wife and other witnesses to this protest of Notre Dame’s decision to award President Obama an honorary degree. I personally discounted these worries, believing that the Notre Dame administration would admire him for his principled stand on a matter so close to the Catholic heart of Notre Dame, even if they disagreed with his particular action," Solomon continued.

"The administration welcomed President Obama’s sharp dissent from and attack on central Catholic teaching on life. It seemed only reasonable that they would equally welcome dissent from university policy by such a loyal Catholic and member of the Notre Dame family as Bill Kirk—especially when his dissent was made in the name of the Catholic principles at Notre Dame’s heart and in the company of his bishop," he continued.

Solomon says there was apparently reason for Kirk to be concerned after all and he no worries about what "chilling effect" the firing will have on other Notre Dame staff.

"A number of other administrators have told me that in light of Bill Kirk’s treatment, they will in the future keep their heads down rather than dissent from the policies of the central administration," he said.

The Notre Dame professor doesn’t buy the excuse that the firing came for "restructuring reasons" since Kirk seems to be the only person in the office whose job was eliminated.

He concluded: "The Kirks will survive their brutal treatment by Our Lady’s University. They are people of enormous energy and talent—and goodness. They will make new friends and contribute to other communities elsewhere. It is those of us left behind who are the real losers, and those responsible for the firing of Bill Kirk may suffer the biggest losses of all."


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