New York Times, Notre Dame’s President Faces an Angry Campus After Getting the Coronavirus:
As college leaders deliberated whether to bring students back to campus, none led the charge for reopening more forcefully than the president of the University of Notre Dame.
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university’s president and a 66-year-old Catholic priest with degrees in philosophy and divinity, was among the first to invite students back for dorm life, intercollegiate sports and face-to-face classes, arguing in a New York Times Op-Ed in May that the college had a moral obligation to not be crippled by fear. He also seemed humble about the challenge: When he forgot social distancing rules as he posed for pictures with students returning to campus in August, he issued a public apology.
But all the humility in the world might not have spared Father Jenkins from the storm of protest he now faces over the latest news from South Bend: that he not only violated his own health rules — appearing without a mask at a White House reception last month for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Supreme Court nominee and former Notre Dame Law School professor — but also is infected with the coronavirus himself.
Students have petitioned for his resignation, angry over what they consider his hypocrisy as well as the rising tide of infections on campus. Others have reported him to a coronavirus hotline for violating his own mask mandate. The student newspaper called the affair “embarrassing” in an editorial. And the faculty senate stopped one vote short on Tuesday night of considering a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
“I haven’t seen people this outraged in my whole career and I’ve been here since 2001,” Eileen Hunt Botting, a political science professor, said.
Neither Father Jenkins nor the school spokesman, Paul Browne, responded to requests for comment. “I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” the school president said in a statement posted last week on the Notre Dame website. “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.” ...
In a Zoom meeting on Tuesday night, the faculty senate voted 21-20 after raucous debate to postpone the proposed no-confidence vote while they gathered more feedback. A second motion to consider commending the president, who was not in attendance, was also postponed, overwhelmingly. ...
About 770 Notre Dame students on the 12,700-student campus have tested positive for the virus this semester, according to the campus dashboard. An internal federal government report from last month showed surrounding St. Joseph County as being a major coronavirus hot spot, citing returning Notre Dame students as a possible source of community infection.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Notre Dame’s President Went Unmasked at White House, Then Tested Positive. Now He’s Under Fire.