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Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Deacon Harold

I know information about this issue which I cannot share. Despite Mr. Solomon's comments, this decision was not a bad move.


Deacon Harold: it is so very unfair to publicly provide - without offering your name or any evidence to support your claim - an opinion that is defamatory of a man's professional and personal reputation by suggesting there is "secret" negative information about this matter. The University has failed to offer any reason - either publicly or privately - other than "restructuring" to support its decision. Unless you are willing to identify yourself and actually give facts to support your opinion, you really should keep it to yourself.


I don't know a cotton-picking thing about why the University actually sacked Kirk, though I will agree that unceremoniously kicking a long-time member of the University community to the curb is rather infamous.

That said, the wider context of criticisms against Kirk and Res Life bear consideration. Most of the harshest alumni critics of Res Life practices seem to be graduates from the 1980s. The 1980s weren't a good time for any institution, place, or people of which I am aware (save the inside of Notre Dame Stadium). Their benchmark for "appropriate behavior," then, is a level of chaos that is actually far below appropriate.

But at the same time, Res Life policies in the last few years seemed to have been driven much less by an authentically Catholic ethos than by a liability-fearing, liberal nanny-state-esque mania. The crackdowns focused principally on dances, parties, and drinking; I saw no indication that the administration was doing more to discourage, e.g., inappropriate behavior in hall chapels, nonattendance of Mass, fornication, or other behavior that while fundamentally wrong, was unlikely to result in lawsuits. There's room between "draconian," "fun" and "bacchanalian," and a university can be criticized for drawing the line too far on either side.

Also, I'm going to have to disagree with Dr. Solomon (who I respect immensely) about the activity of the South Bend Police. The SBPD and the Indiana Excise Police (a state task force that busts alcohol and tobacco violations) have devoted enormous resources for some time to trolling for ND students off campus and at football games. Of course, if a violent crime is committed against a student, they're nowhere to be found. But if you have two people in your off-campus living room with beer, they'll be there with bells on.

So maybe it was ignominious to fire Kirk. But that doesn't mean that the football tail is wagging the dome dog, or that Kirk's department was doing the best job it could have been.

Barry Bruss

Of course, if a violent crime is committed against a student, they're nowhere to be found. But if you have two people in your off-campus living room with beer, they'll be there with bells on.

That, Titus, is a perfect example of anarchotyranny.


We don't know why Bill Kirk lost his job, nor are we really entitled to know. It's a personnel matter, between him and Notre Dame, and both of those parties have chosen the higher road of declining comment.
That didn't stop Prof. Solomon from lashing out at the administration, with unfounded accusations and innuendo regarding their motives. According to Solomon, Kirk should not have lost his job because he's a nice guy who has been employed by the university for more than 20 years, his wife works at the Center, he was in the process of adopting a child, and he is Solomon's personal friend. The most ludicrous part of this story was the suggestion that Notre Dame fired Kirk because Charlie Weiss criticized him.
The notion that the university is on a search-and-destroy mission to neutralize those who supported NDResponse is belied by the fact that there were plenty of faculty, staff, priests, and other members of the ND community present at the NDResponse events. They were not just the usual suspects who write letters to the Observer and write blog articles decrying Notre Dame's journey to hell in a handbasket, but other prominent and respected persons who have chosen other, less public means of communicating their dismay to university officials. Solomon's diatribe, though it went viral almost immediately in the blogosphere, will do absolutely nothing to further the cause of strengthening Notre Dame's Catholic identity. Indeed, it will cause real harm by helping to convince those who don't really know what's going on around here that Notre Dame is a lost cause.
It's very sad.

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