Notre Dame puts the lid on lefties

• In the week that Australia prepares to commemorate the Anzacs who died nearly a century ago to protect our freedoms, Alex Bainbridge, Chris Jenkins and Sam Wainwright call on Notre Dame Uni to allow freedom of association at a Fremantle university campus.

• In the week that Australia prepares to commemorate the Anzacs who died nearly a century ago to protect our freedoms, Alex Bainbridge, Chris Jenkins and Sam Wainwright call on Notre Dame Uni to allow freedom of association at a Fremantle university campus.

NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY is banning students from establishing left-wing political clubs on campus, saying they run counter to its religious foundations.

Never mind that Jesus fed the poor, healed the sick and raged at the moneylenders, last week the Catholic university rejected Chris Jenkins’ application to start a club affiliated to Socialist Alliance.

Student branches of the Labor and Liberal parties are, however, welcome, as is “Lord” Christopher Monckton, the climate change denier who spoke at the Fremantle campus in 2011. The university defended his appearance on the grounds of free speech.

“All I was told was we didn’t fit in with the uni’s Catholic social teachings,” Mr Jenkins told the Herald. The nursing studies student says last year Notre Dame also shut down a refugee forum.

“We were basically told the meeting was forbidden and to leave the campus grounds.”

Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright, a senior member of the Socialist Alliance in WA, sprinted down to the West End campus when he heard socialist students might be told to pack up their stall and move along.

“I wanted to make sure I was here, because this is a public footpath,” he told the Herald. “It’s up to council to decide what it can be used for, not the university.

“It is utterly beyond me why the university can’t relax and let an independent student life exist and flourish, which is what I would’ve thought was a necessary part of a healthy university culture. It’s like Notre Dame wants to protect some corporate image.”

A Facebook page called Students for Free Speech at Notre Dame reveals the university has been censoring medical clubs too. Shane Bowra posted the Medical Students’ Association had been deregistered as a club by the university’s Student Life Office (SLO) because its constitution included support for abortion on medical grounds.

“Debate and discussion of issues such as abortion and contraception have been shut down even in nursing classes, where discussing these issues is surely an important part of training,” he said.

The Herald has been told the university has also banned UN Women Australia and Amnesty from SLO registration.

Notre Dame media handler Leigh Dawson says the issue is “formal affiliation with the student association”.

“While in some instances formal affiliation may not be granted, this does not indicate that the university does not recognise the importance of the work undertaken by the organisation in many areas.”



13 responses to “Notre Dame puts the lid on lefties

  1. And so they should. Uni has no place for politics! If a religious organisation was promoting its views at a public uni, these ferals would be the first to complain.

    • Where and when has any left wing organisation in Australia attempted to curtail religious activity at a university, or anywhere for that matter? Socialists defend the democratic right to the expression of religious faith.

  2. Notre Dame has a nerve to call itself a “university” if it won’t allow democratic freedom of speech. The institution accepts federal government money under the pretense of providing university education, but it is actually trying to funnel students through the limited world view of Cardinal Pell.

  3. Brilliant!

    Turn-about is fair play, and Socialist Alliance loves to ban, censor, shout down and deny others any view counter to their own gullible narcissism.

    And if the blood-soaked, utterly failed, human-misery promoting ideology of socialism is not the antithesis of Christianity, what is?

    • Please provide one example , ever, of the socialists “banning” or “censoring” someone. No, disagreeing with someone , even fervently, is not called “banning”, its called “free speech”.

  4. Why are Socialists going to a Private University? One would think that they would accept the Institution’s strictures on which clubs are “acceptable” for SLO affiliation. If they don’t they have the right to take their business elsewhere, but the University is standing up for its principles and good on ’em.

  5. Kindly remember that Notre Dame is a private university. When you enroll, you agree to adhere to its philosophy. And what has feeding the poor, healing the sick, and raging at moneylenders got to do with the Socialist Alliance? It is time we stopped talking as if leftism, especially Communism, actually assists the needy.

  6. I think this is quite a childish action by the local socialists here. Of all their ’causes’ they deliberately pick an inflammatory one, and then go and spruik it right out the front of a Catholic University’s chapel to be spiteful.
    They are clearly just seeking attention, which they have unfortunately gotten for a week until the next Herald.
    I’m sure they wouldn’t dare go to the local synagogue and preach against circumcision, or tell the local mosque they need to promote gay rights, so why is it acceptable to do it to another religion?
    Also, while they might technically be on council property, it shows an immaturity unbecoming of a ‘party’ aiming to be elected to public office.
    Freedom of speech is one thing, but there are no human rights being violated if an obviously Catholic private institution does not allow a group official recognition/affiliation when this is what they will do with it.
    I dare say that this will make the Uni think twice before allowing more appropriate student groups also.

  7. I have a question for the socialists supporting “gay marriage.” How many socialist nations are there that have allowed gay marriage? It ain’t in Cuba. North Korea is right out. It never existed in any other socialist country. In fact homosexuals have faced greater discrimination under socialist regimes than under democratic ones.

    • Wow, Shawn Lamb, how did a sensible question slip past the barrage of fundamentalist Catholic flaming that has characterised this discussion? Also, you are to be congratulated for having the courage to use your real name, unlike the other champions of freedom parading here.

      I don’t know about equal marriage rights in Cuba, but there is certainly great official and public support for equal rights for gays there. North Korea? Who knows?!

      The early, militantly socialist Bolshevik government in Russia legalised gay marriage, I believe. Stalin, who was certainly no friend of progress and terminated the Bolshevik phase of the revolution, outlawed gay sex and just about anything else progressive that he could think of.

      I notice that the mildly socialist government of France has just legalised gay marriage and in response the Catholic far right has unleashed fascist violence in the streets. Not a good look.

      For all that it is interesting, your question is actually irrelevant to this discussion. What is at stake is just how committed the Notre Dame is to being part of modern, secular society.

      Freedom of speech is essential to the full expression of conscience and NDU is violating it.

      NDU’s website speaks of combining the virtues of medieval Catholic education with modern universities. Unfortunately, democracy didn’t exist back in the Dark Ages and NDU needs to clarify which side of the medieval/modern divide it wants to be on.

      BTW, I notice that there is an accusation that Socialist Alliance spitefully spruiked right outside NDU’s chapel. The Herald’s photo clearly shows Socialist Alliance members on the footpath outside the gates of NDU’s courtyard.

      It is true that the chapel opens onto that courtyard, as does the main student library, the Law Library, the Student Life Office and the toilet block. I don’t know which of those the socialists were being spiteful towards.

  8. No government-funded organisation should be allowed to discriminate on religious grounds like this. If they’re going to hide behind being a private university for their discrimination, I say take away any government funding they are getting.

  9. I find all this desperately sad. I’m English and don’t know what the Socialist Alliance in Australia stand for. However it seems fairly clear that most commenters so far, don’t understand what socialism as an ideology (rather than a political movement) stands for, and even less what Christianity stands for. Socialism and the teachings of Jesus go almost hand in hand regarding the treatment of our fellow man/woman. I’m increasingly coming round to the point of view of an Irish Catholic woman I met a few years ago. She told me she was Catholic and I replied, ‘Oh I’m a Christian too’. She looked at me in disgust and said, ‘I’m no Christian. I just told you, I’m a Catholic’. Maybe it’s time Catholics divorced (oops, bad word) themselves from Christianity altogether. Between them and the fundamentalists, it must be so hard for any atheist to believe that the majority of Christians believe in the Christian gospel of Love, Understanding, Tolerance, Acceptance, selflessness, gentleness, compassion and again LOVE. Fortunately God understands that occasionally people really f**king p*ss me off.

  10. Jesus would have never endorsed forced theft from one to give to another (Socialism), not control over an individual’s freedom by the state (Again, Socialism). It’s good that the extremist Socialist Alliance is being seen than more than just a political group, but rather an anti-democracy and anti-freedom organisation. They don’t want power to the people – they want power OVER the people, power to the state.

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