More AMU Troubles
Looks like the Cardinal Newman Society is on their case:

Whoever wrote this press release is a true craftsman.  His message is "look guys, we think you're good, and we'll give you a bunch of slack, but this is insane.  Get it cleaned up."  Check this out:

Quote:  It is clear to us that Ave Maria University is fully committed to a genuine Catholic identity; that Ave Maria University has no desire to violate the bishops’ 2004 policy on Catholic honors and platforms for those who publicly oppose Catholic teaching, and believes that the University did not do so in this instance; and that while Mr. Golisano’s past political actions and reported statements suggest a “pro-choice” position on abortion that has not been clearly and publicly disavowed (including a 1994 quote in The New York Times that he is “pro-choice” on abortion), Mr. Golisano’s statement to Ave Maria University indicating support for the university’s mission is welcome and indicates some level of support for Catholic teaching.

Nevertheless, Ave Maria University’s decision to honor Mr. Golisano does at least give the appearance of violating the bishops’ 2004 policy—which for a committed Catholic university should be a concern—and perhaps also in fact.

Quote: The naming of a building for a particular individual is clearly an honor.  Some have compared the honor for Mr. Golisano to the University of Notre Dame’s honorary degree for President Obama last May; that is an exaggerated comparison, as the Notre Dame action was clearly much more serious with great potential for scandal given the greater publicity and President Obama’s strident positions and actions with regard to abortion and embryonic stem cell research.  It could also be noted, however, that while an honorary degree has only a short-term visibility, a named building is an honor providing long-term recognition to the individual.

Quote: While Mr. Golisano may in fact support Catholic teaching, whether fully or in part, we could find no public statement from Mr. Golisano that has clearly disavowed what appears to have been his public “pro-choice” position.  ........
The fact that Mr. Golisano’s positions remain unclear permits the appearance that Ave Maria University honored a publicly “pro-choice” individual who has repeatedly aligned himself with pro-abortion politics.  The fact of Ave Maria University’s decision to honor an individual whose reputation at the time was of a “pro-choice” individual is of concern regardless of subsequent statements from Mr. Golisano.......As long as there remains the perception and possibly the fact that Ave Maria University’s athletic center is named for a publicly “pro-choice” individual, we fear a negative impact on a university that largely serves and employs faithful Catholics.

Quote: The Cardinal Newman Society and Ave Maria University have a shared, demonstrated commitment to faithful Catholic higher education.  We continue to have a strong relationship.  The Cardinal Newman Society trusts that the University will address this concern with a sincere reflection on its mission and will develop policies to appropriately address such situations in the future.

Seriously, this is a masterpiece.  Whoever wrote this knew what he was doing.  The message is clear:  Answer these concerns or you are f*&ked.  Oh, and have a nice day.

AMU Replies:

AMU Press Release Wrote:Statement to Cardinal Newman Society

We appreciate the splendid efforts of the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) to foster Catholic identity amongst Catholic colleges and universities. It is therefore appropriate that the CNS question our acceptance of a gift from Tom Golisano and the naming of the new field house after him. However, despite their noble motives the CNS is mistaken.

The foundation of the CNS concern over the Golisano gift is that Mr. Golisano is a "publicly pro-choice individual."  What is the evidence for this?  The principal evidence cited is an article in the N.Y. Times from 1994 that purports to quote Mr. Golisano as saying, "I am pro-choice."  As we have told the CNS, Mr. Golisano disputes this and says he was misquoted. We accept him at his word.

It is interesting that subsequent N.Y. Times articles note that Mr. Golisano is not pro-choice after all, e.g. a 2002 N.Y. Times article noted that Mr. Golisano sent out fliers in a political campaign noting that he was the candidate most opposed to abortion (N.Y. Times 11/20/02).

Significantly, when Mr. Golisano ran for governor of New York on his own Independence Party the platform did not contain a pro-choice plank.  So Mr. Golisano has never run as a pro-choice politician.

As we told the CNS, Mr. Golisano has personally assured both Chancellor Monaghan and President Healy that he is pro-life, and authorized us to publicize this. Just last week the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Michael Timmis, had lunch with Mr. Golisano.  In the course of their discussion Mr. Golisano stated:

"I am pro-life. I have never been pro-choice, although the NY media has misrepresented me as pro-choice."

He has authorized us to publish these comments verbatim.

In view of the foregoing we believe that Mr. Golisano cannot fairly be said to be "publicly pro-choice."  He is publicly pro-life, and maintains that he has always been pro-life.

Mr. Golisano has also shared with us that he has a mentally impaired son. He is a passionate advocate and philanthropist for those with mental disabilities, who are among the main victims of abortion. For this alone he deserves our honor and respect.

                                                                                    ~ Ave Maria University
Well, on the positive side, at least Golisano says "I am pro-life".

On the negative side, I hate the deceit.  First, "most opposed to abortion" doesn't cut it.  He could be against partial birth abortion, but for other abortions, and make that claim -- in New York of all places.

Also, I don't think the NY Times article from 1994 is the main problem.  The main problem is that he contributed a LOT of money to 50 pro-abortion candidates in the 2008 election cycle.  He also funded the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, and gave $1MM to Obama's convention.  That is more damning than the 1994 article.

Let's hope Golisano issues a statement on those campaign contributions.
Here's what was in the flier:
Quote: The failure [of the New York Right to Life party] to gain 50,000 votes this past election cycle has been blamed on Tom Golisano, the Independent candidate for governor. Shortly before the election he sent out pamphlets explaining that he was against partial-birth abortion and federal funding of abortion. That cost a lot of votes. Mr. Diem insists Golisano used the issue to his political advantage — that he was not a candidate who could be trusted with the issue once actually in office.

So this "evidence" is bogus.

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