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Notre Dame President Sorry for Antigay Cartoon


An antigay editorial cartoon that calls a baseball bat the "quickest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable" has the staff of the University of Notre Dame's student paper in which it ran and the school's president scrambling to explain how it was allowed to be published.

The staff of The Observer issued the first apology for the January 13 cartoon, saying, "There is no excuse that can be given and nothing that can be said to reverse the damage that has already been done by this egregious error in judgment."

On Friday, the Reverend John I. Jenkins,Notre Dame's president, followed with a statement of his own, printed below.

"The University denounces the implication that violence or expressions of hate toward any person or group of people is acceptable or a matter that should be taken lightly.

"In accordance with Notre Dame's Spirit of Inclusion, a formal statement adopted by the officers of the University in 1997, at Notre Dame 'we prize the uniqueness of all persons as God's creatures' and welcome 'all people, regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and nationality.'

"Further, 'we value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community. We condemn harassment of any kind' and 'we consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.'

"The University respects The Observer's status as an independent, student-run newspaper and appreciates that the editorial staff has issued an apology in its January 15th issue and that the cartoon's authors also have expressed their regret. Notre Dame administrators will work with the Observer staff, as they say in their editorial, to 'move forward, and ... to promote ... a culture of acceptance and support for all.'"

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