Statement by John J. Brennan, Chair of the University of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees

Author: Notre Dame News

Statement by John J. Brennan, Chair of the University of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees on 11/5/2020

Notre Dame's Faculty Senate met this evening (November 5) to consider a vote of no confidence because of Fr. Jenkins' appearance at the Rose Garden without a mask.  The Faculty Senate rejected the proposed no- confidence vote, and the lesser sanctions of censure and reprimand, to instead pass a motion in which it "expresses its disappointment...(and) also accepts his apology."

Thereafter, the following statement was issued by the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame, John J. Brennan, with the unanimous support of the board: 

“The University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees affirms our unwavering confidence in Fr. John Jenkins’ presidency and expresses our gratitude to him for his strong and courageous leadership throughout the last 15 years, and in particular, during these unprecedented times in our country, our world, and at Notre Dame. 

“In our view, courageous is a very appropriate adjective to describe Fr. Jenkins. He has demonstrated great personal character, humility, and courage by addressing the University community after attending the Rose Garden reception, publicly acknowledging that, at that particular event, he ‘“failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.’”  His courageous and sincere apology, which he has now offered on more than one occasion, has been accepted by a vast majority of the members of the Notre Dame community, and certainly by the members of this Board.

“Let us be very clear. Fr. Jenkins has consistently led by word and example throughout his presidency and especially during this pandemic.  He has done so through his tireless and energetic work, in his commitment to the health and well-being of the University’s students, faculty, and staff as well as that of our neighbors in the local community, and through his unwavering dedication to Notre Dame’s mission of teaching, scholarship and research. Fr. Jenkins is a leader of exceptional character, faith, and vision, and we are proud that he is president of the University of Notre Dame.”