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Supporting Tamara Kay and Academic Freedom

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UPDATE:

The relentless promotion of a false story about Professor Tamara Kay for almost a year by the Irish Rover, an unofficial student publication that is overseen by some of her male Notre Dame colleagues as official faculty advisors, has led to harassment, abuse, and rape and death threats (as reported by New York Magazine’s The Cut). She has been quietly trying to resolve this issue by communicating to them that the story is untrue and requesting that they retract or correct it. She has also asked university officials to intervene on her behalf with faculty who were likely fomenting the harassment. They have refused.

In May 2023, having exhausted all other institutional options, Prof. Kay sued the Irish Rover, Inc. She did not sue Notre Dame students, who are not the legal agents of the Rover—Notre Dame faculty are. But her male colleagues have orchestrated a massive media and fundraising campaign falsely claiming she is suing and silencing students, which has resulted in another round of harassment. Prof Kay has said publicly that her writing and public speech as an expert on abortion policy at Notre Dame are all fair game for reporting and critique, as long as that reporting is accurate. It has not been.

The Council of the American Sociological Association (ASA) voted unanimously to release and publicize a letter the ASA wrote to Notre Dame administrators on Prof Kay’s behalf in February 2023 that has not been public until now. This is a rare decision for the Council to make because it focuses on one person, but they felt it was necessary because of the ongoing harassment and attacks Prof Kay faces, the university’s failure to address them adequately, and the implications for all faculty in terms of academic freedom, and safety.

We are seeking funds to offset the additional costs of Prof Kay’s lawsuit against the Irish Rover, and for costs to ensure her safety and security as she continues to try to ensure that academic freedom and safety are prioritized not only for herself but for all Notre Dame faculty, staff and students.

Per Prof. Kay's request, any funds that exceed the cost of legal representation will be donated to organizations that support survivors of Indian Residential Schools including the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

Original Request:

In support of academic freedom, and freedom from harassment and abuse, we invite you to contribute to this fundraiser to support Tamara Kay, Professor of Global Affairs and Sociology at the University of Notre Dame.

Prof. Kay is a tenured faculty member at Notre Dame and a respected scholar whose academic articles and policy work have addressed issues of reproductive justice and human rights for many years. Beginning in May, 2022, Prof. Kay and a colleague published a series of op-eds on abortion rights in various outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The Indianapolis Star. As requested, these op-eds included a disclaimer noting that the professors were not speaking on behalf of the University. In the wake of these publications, Prof. Kay has been the target of an increasing and dangerous amount of harassment, including threats, from anti-abortion advocates. Prof. Kay was the subject of defamatory stories posted by white nationalist hate groups and by the Irish Rover, an online publication that, though not affiliated with the University, is written by Notre Dame students and lists several faculty members as advisors. On Dec. 5, Prof. Kay and her colleague in the Keough School published an op-ed on abortion rights in The Chicago Tribune. On Dec. 6, Notre Dame’s President, John Jenkins CSC, who had been informed of the previous harassment, wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune publicly rebuking Prof. Kay and her colleague, violating the university’s academic freedom policies. The statement caused an escalation in harassment against Prof. Kay, who had to teach her final class of the semester with police monitoring the hallway outside her classroom.

At this point, the cost of retaining legal representation has placed a significant burden on Prof. Kay and her family. We are seeking funds to offset the legal costs Professor Kay is incurring as she tries to secure the protection for safety and academic freedom not only for herself but for all Notre Dame faculty, staff and students.

Per Prof. Kay's request, any funds that exceed the cost of legal representation will be donated to organizations that support survivors of Indian Residential Schools including the Legacy of Hope Foundation.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Susan St Ville
Organizer
Notre Dame, IN
Tamara Kay
Beneficiary

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