The Irish Rover Wins a Lawfare Battle

 

The Irish Rover, a Catholic newspaper on the Notre Dame campus won a battle in a defamation lawsuit brought by a Notre Dame professor against the newspaper.

The defamation lawsuit brought against the Irish Rover by Prof. Tamara Kay in June 2023 was dismissed by St. Joseph County, Indiana, Superior Court on Jan 8, 2024, under Indiana’s Anti-SLAPP law.

The Irish Rover is an alternative newspaper for Notre Dame students and is available to alums and those who support Catholic values.

Upholding the Catholic character of the University of Notre Dame

The Irish Rover has 12 faculty advisors to include two priests. They write articles that feature what is faithful on the Notre Dame campus and what does not represent Catholic values on campus. There will always be battles in the war on Catholic values both off and on campus.

The Irish Rover Mission Statement

Established in 2003, the Irish Rover remains an independent, non-profit, student publication devoted to preserving the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. As expressed in the Rover’s constitution, three objectives guide our editorial policy:

1. Defend the Faith and honorable traditions of this great university;

2. Articulate conservative principles;

3. Engage in collegial debate.

The Rover seeks to facilitate one dimension of what the university desires for its community, as expressed in Notre Dame’s mission statement:

“a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.”

To provide this forum, the Rover offers a distinctive kind of coverage that includes campus news, religion, politics, culture, and humor.

The defamation lawsuit brought against the Irish Rover by Prof. Tamara Kay in June 2023 was dismissed by St. Joseph County, Indiana, Superior Court on Jan 8, 2024, under Indiana’s Anti-SLAPP law.”

The Jan. 8 Court Order, filed in the St. Joseph Circuit and Superior Courts, however, concluded that “the allegedly defamatory statements were made in the furtherance of the defendant’s right to free speech, were made in connection with a public issue, were made with good faith and with a reasonable basis in law and fact.”

The court ruling affirmed that Kay “cannot voluntarily put herself into the national abortion issue either on the campus of Notre Dame or in a broader, national forum, by making multiple strong statements in favor of abortion rights and access to abortion and expect that it will not become newsworthy at Notre Dame and elsewhere.”

Click on the link from the Bopp Law Firm that represented the Irish Rover.

One battle won and it will not be last battle in the cancel culture wars but there is some comfort in knowing that there are students on a campus that are willing to fight. 

 

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There are 11 comments.

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  1. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    This brightened my day. Thank you.

    • #1
  2. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    What were the alleged defamatory statements?

    • #2
  3. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I am curious as to what the defamatory statements happened to be.

    Is there a way you could mention those statements, Doug?

     

     

    • #3
  4. Bunsen Coolidge
    Bunsen
    @Bunsen

    I pray she had to pay their court costs.

    • #4
  5. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Al French (View Comment):

    What were the alleged defamatory statements?

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I am curious as to what the defamatory statements happened to be.

    Is there a way you could mention those statements, Doug?

    Perhaps this video can explain your questions that I just included in the post. Denying that she had a 20 minute interview with the Rover editor. Deleted tweets that offered to help students access abortions basically claiming that the Rover lied about her actions.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Al French (View Comment):

    What were the alleged defamatory statements?

    Here.

    Professor Tamara Kay, a sociology professor at the Keough School of Global Affairs at Notre Dame, had a sign on her office door that said she would provide “information on all healthcare issues and access — confidentially with care and compassion,” according to independent student newspaper The Irish Rover.

    Kay also reportedly had the letter “J” on her door, which the Rover reported indicates faculty members who will help their students get Plan B, the morning-after pill, and Plan C abortion pills, which induce an abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. She also posted her email not affiliated with the school.

    Kay told the student newspaper that her actions were done in her capacity as a private citizen and that the Roman Catholic university had given her permission.

    The judge found what The Rover reported was the truth. The truth, not just their truth. Prof. Kay can scribble her truth on her office door if she wants to.

    • #6
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    This court victory is a great episode in the present story of ND.  At 13:00 the interview takes up the topic “is Notre Dame still [Roman} Catholic?”  For those interested in higher education, Catholic education, religious higher education, etc., the interview offers some tasty morsals.  

     

     

    • #7
  8. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Interesting video. The Irish Rover reporter, R. Joseph DeReuil, presents well. Will we see him guest for one of those Laura Ingraham or Ray Arroyo reports about politics and faith?

    What I most respect was that in discussing his report about Professor Kay, DeReuil mentions the website abortionfinder.com. A hardened propagandist wouldn’t mention such a website. 

    As frivilous lawsuits go, this one brushes near serious concerns. How, if, and when should a university enforce provisions of its official policies? When is monitoring of the expressed views of individual faculty consistent with the principles of academic freedom? Should “outing” a professor’s views which may be in conflict with the university’s official policies be encouraged, discouraged, rewarded, shamed, or neutrally observed?

    Before answering, consider both ND and the woke Marxist claptrap which has weasled its way into the mission statements of countless universities.

    It’s healthy for Notre Dame to encourage both a conscientious alternative student newspaper, and also to in no way sanction, restrict, or discipline  individual faculty whose actions conflict with its current mission statement. Healthy respect for academic freedom makes revelations of dissidence less likely to be called defamatory.

    Even safely tenured faculty face vulnerabilites. There’s promotion, curriculum, budgets, schedule, publication, office time, parking etc., and the bad brother of collegiality, gossip. “Did  you know (Professor X) voted for candidate (R)?” “I can’t believe he told the students to watch EWTN!” “Shouldn’t we tell the Dean about that guest lecturer?” “Did you see what’s on her door?” “Should we mention the heresy in Theology to the Bishop?” “Pregnant by whom?”

    With many Catholic universities reorganized under secular boards of governance, Notre Dame will continue to face challenges to its religious identity. Rocking that boat can be perilous.

    Then the ship struck a rock
    Oh Lord, what a shock
    The bulkhead was turned right over
    Turned nine times around
    And the poor old dog was drowned
    And the last of The Irish Rover

    The Irish Rover lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Ltd., Perfect Songs Ltd., Wardlaw Banks Limited, Wardlaw Music, Box & Cox Inc.

    • #8
  9. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    Interesting video. The Irish Rover reporter, R. Joseph DeReuil, presents well. Will we see him guest for one of those Laura Ingraham or Ray Arroyo reports about politics and faith?

    What I most respect was that in discussing his report about Professor Kay, DeReuil mentions the website abortionfinder.com. A hardened propagandist wouldn’t mention such a website.

    As frivilous lawsuits go, this one brushes near serious concerns. How, if, and when should a university enforce provisions of its official policies? When is monitoring of the expressed views of individual faculty consistent with the principles of academic freedom? Should “outing” a professor’s views which may be in conflict with the university’s official policies be encouraged, discouraged, rewarded, shamed, or neutrally observed?

    Before answering, consider both ND and the woke Marxist claptrap which has weasled its way into the mission statements of countless universities.

    It’s healthy for Notre Dame to encourage both a conscientious alternative student newspaper, and also to in no way sanction, restrict, or discipline individual faculty whose actions conflict with its current mission statement. Healthy respect for academic freedom makes revelations of dissidence less likely to be called defamatory.

    Even safely tenured faculty face vulnerabilites. There’s promotion, curriculum, budgets, schedule, publication, office time, parking etc., and the bad brother of collegiality, gossip. “Did you know (Professor X) voted for candidate (R)?” “I can’t believe he told the students to watch EWTN!” “Shouldn’t we tell the Dean about that guest lecturer?” “Did you see what’s on her door?” “Should we mention the heresy in Theology to the Bishop?” “Pregnant by whom?”

    With many Catholic universities reorganized under secular boards of governance, Notre Dame will continue to face challenges to its religious identity. Rocking that boat can be perilous.

    Then the ship struck a rock
    Oh Lord, what a shock
    The bulkhead was turned right over
    Turned nine times around
    And the poor old dog was drowned
    And the last of The Irish Rover

    The Irish Rover lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Ltd., Perfect Songs Ltd., Wardlaw Banks Limited, Wardlaw Music, Box & Cox Inc.

    Faculty freedom should not be a defense when undermining the mission of a private college or university.  If a school finds itself unable to discipline, and fire its faculty for opposing its values and mission, then the school should publicly announce that the mission has changed.

    • #9
  10. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Jim Kearney (View Comment):

    Interesting video. The Irish Rover reporter, R. Joseph DeReuil, presents well. Will we see him guest for one of those Laura Ingraham or Ray Arroyo reports about politics and faith?

    What I most respect was that in discussing his report about Professor Kay, DeReuil mentions the website abortionfinder.com. A hardened propagandist wouldn’t mention such a website.

    As frivilous lawsuits go, this one brushes near serious concerns. How, if, and when should a university enforce provisions of its official policies? When is monitoring of the expressed views of individual faculty consistent with the principles of academic freedom? Should “outing” a professor’s views which may be in conflict with the university’s official policies be encouraged, discouraged, rewarded, shamed, or neutrally observed?

    Before answering, consider both ND and the woke Marxist claptrap which has weasled its way into the mission statements of countless universities.

    It’s healthy for Notre Dame to encourage both a conscientious alternative student newspaper, and also to in no way sanction, restrict, or discipline individual faculty whose actions conflict with its current mission statement. Healthy respect for academic freedom makes revelations of dissidence less likely to be called defamatory.

    Even safely tenured faculty face vulnerabilites. There’s promotion, curriculum, budgets, schedule, publication, office time, parking etc., and the bad brother of collegiality, gossip. “Did you know (Professor X) voted for candidate (R)?” “I can’t believe he told the students to watch EWTN!” “Shouldn’t we tell the Dean about that guest lecturer?” “Did you see what’s on her door?” “Should we mention the heresy in Theology to the Bishop?” “Pregnant by whom?”

    With many Catholic universities reorganized under secular boards of governance, Notre Dame will continue to face challenges to its religious identity. Rocking that boat can be perilous.

    Then the ship struck a rock
    Oh Lord, what a shock
    The bulkhead was turned right over
    Turned nine times around
    And the poor old dog was drowned
    And the last of The Irish Rover

    The Irish Rover lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Ltd., Perfect Songs Ltd., Wardlaw Banks Limited, Wardlaw Music, Box & Cox Inc.

    Faculty freedom should not be a defense when undermining the mission of a private college or university. If a school finds itself unable to discipline, and fire its faculty for opposing its values and mission, then the school should publicly announce that the mission has changed.

    Consider conservative faculty (including closeted ones) working in schools with left wing values and mission statements. Imagine some committee deciding whether one’s words and deeds comply with “a particular emphasis on confronting social injustice” (which is in the mission statement of a college where I formerly worked.)

    Changing mission statements is a better idea. Just beware EU-like endless negotiations on words and nuances, long filibusters in the faculty senates, etc. Remember, the Marxists are trained to stay late at meetings until they’ve got the votes.

    Frankly, more of a concern than major colleges risking their reputation by bringing down the hammer on pro-choice faculty, I worry about state prosecutors doing the deed on their behalf. Some of these anti-abortion laws go pretty far in terms of weakly enforced exceptions and criminal penalties, even on a person driving a woman to a clinic. For an example, see today’s report on the Kate Cox case in Texas, which aired on CBS News Sunday Morning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVxMw_UUoms

     

    • #10
  11. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    If the subject raised by the OP is interesting to you, a good starting place is The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian Churches, by James Tunstead Burtchaell.

    ADDITION: There is a review of the book by Michael Beaty.  https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/offices/mission/pdf1/ra9.pdf

    • #11
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