Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 3, 2020

18 Notre Dame Law Faculty Who Attended Amy Coney Barrett's White House Ceremony Await COVID-19 Test Results

Washington Post, Notre Dame Faculty Who Attended White House Event Await Test Results Amid Concern on Campus of Exposure:

Notre Dame Law (2020)Multiple faculty members from University of Notre Dame were awaiting coronavirus test results late Friday after attending a White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett along with the school president, who announced he had tested positive.

Around 18 faculty members who traveled to Washington for the Sept. 26 event were tested with nasal swabs on Friday, according to a person familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private health matters. Results from the tests are expected within 48 hours, the person said. ...

Trump and administration officials were criticized by public health experts about their staging of the ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, where guests sat closely together and most did not wear masks. ...

University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, who attended the White House event, said earlier Friday that he had tested positive for the virus and was in quarantine. ... Like Jenkins, several others attendees from Notre Dame at the White House ceremony did not wear masks, according to the person familiar with the event.

Some Notre Dame professors expressed dismay Friday that so many faculty members had attended an event that did not adhere to public health protocols and concern about the school’s handling of the situation.

“There is legitimately some worry that the group that went to Washington and came back has brought some risk to the campus and to the South Bend community,” said Mark McKenna, a professor at the law school. “I think there has been a lot of disappointment that people on our campus went to and participated in an event that didn’t abide by the rules we have established here,” he said.

McKenna praised the law school’s dean, G. Marcus Cole, for wearing a mask at the White House event and quarantining afterward. But, he said, the law school had not made clear what the quarantine protocol was for others who had attended. ...

Eileen Hunt Botting, a professor of political science who has taught at Notre Dame since 2001, said she had never experienced anything like the reaction this week from students and faculty. ... “The fact that Father Jenkins went to the White House for this event when he didn’t have to, chose not to wear a mask in the crowded Rose Garden ceremony was the culmination of our concerns that he has been preaching one thing and doing another,” said Botting, who added that Jenkins’s actions “suggest he thinks he is above the rules.”

“We believe it is our responsibility to put the dignity and sanctity of life first and we at Notre Dame are failing that responsibility,” she said.

Richard Williams, a professor of sociology, called the participation of university personnel in the White House event “reckless and irresponsible.” ...

Williams, who also praised Cole for wearing a mask throughout the Rose Garden event, said Jenkins and others appeared to have been “doing things that a student could get expelled for.”

Above the Law, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination Turns Into White-Hot Raging COVID Spigot

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