Notre Dame Faculty Senate votes a motion of "disappointment" for Father Jenkins

NOW: Notre Dame Faculty Senate votes a motion of “disappointment“ for Father Jenkins

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “I come to you today however with a sober message – as you may know cases of COVID-19 are rising in our nation, in Indiana, and here in St. Joseph County,” said University President Father John Jenkins.     

Notre Dame is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The University announcing an additional 44 cases as of Thursday. University President Father John Jenkins addressed the rise in a video released to students.

“In this time of increased cases, we must recommit to wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, washing our hands regularly and doing our daily health check,” said Jenkins.                   

Jenkins has been under scrutiny in recent months with some saying he is not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously enough. In September, Jenkins made an appearance at the White House Rose Garden Ceremony to celebrate the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.  

He then was diagnosed with COVID-19 himself just a few days later. 

Thursday, the Notre Dame faculty senate held a meeting to consider two motions one of which is a motion by Senator Katrina Barron for a vote of no confidence for Father Jenkins. If that motion had been approved, it would call on Jenkins to resign. The motion failed. Rather, a motion of disappointment was issued instead with 29 votes in favor and 13 against. This means the faculty recognizes Jenkins actions on his trip to Washington D.C. as wrong, and he apologized.

Now one student says it is hard to follow COVID-19 guidelines when for him President Jenkins failed to lead by example  

“I have had friends get in trouble where some random group walks past the house and maybe one person was not wearing a mask. When it’s not like they were not social distancing, it’s just stuff like that. Then he goes to the White House and gets COVID. It’s a little tough to take him seriously,” said Scott Burnbaum, University of Notre Dame student.    

On the other hand, students such as Charles Kenney says he still supports and respects Father Jenkins.

“So I think it’s a mistake, but I think when you take an aggregate of all the things he has done. It does not mean he should resign by any means in my opinion,” Charles Kenney, University of Notre Dame student.   

The Senate Faculty meeting had two motions on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. The second one on the agenda was a note of appreciation. Due to the length of this previous meeting, motion number 2 has now been postponed until next their next meeting.

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