As The Motley Monk posted on November 10, hope was on the horizon. Fr. Miscamble had actually done something to assist UND students to be able to select courses that would maximize their opportunity to receive an authentic Catholic education at UND.
What was that? Fr. Miscamble spearheaded the effort to create NDCatholic.com, a website that identifies faculty and describes courses aimed at advancing students in their quest for a distinctively Catholic education at UND.
According to a post by the Sycamore Trust--a UND alumni/ae group dedicated to making UND a place where young men and women can be inspired through teachers steeped in the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition--Fr. Miscamble can longer be involved with NDCatholic.com:
Nevertheless, two days after the inauguration of the website Father sent us this message: "I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why."
- The day after the launch of NDCatholic.com, Father Miscamble advised the Chairman of Sycamore Trust, Bill Dempsey, that he had been directed to disassociate himself from the website.
- Demsey emailed Miscamble the next day expressing his "surprise and deep disappointment" and concern that this would "reflect adversely on the university" in the absence of a persuasive explanation. Dempsey asked "What reason we should assign?"
- Miscamble responded: "Dear Bill, I regret that I can say only that I am required to end my involvement with the NDCatholic site and am not at liberty to say why.
Well, it doesn't take a neurosurgeon the likes of Dr. Ben Carson to figure out what transpired within the cone of silence:
- UND administrators and CSC superiors determined that Fr. Miscamble was engendering dissension within the UND and CSC communities by agitating for a more demostrably Catholic UND.
- His most recent effort, NDCatholic.com, was the "straw that finally broke the camel's back."
Most likely, here's how those events unfolded within that cone of silence:
- UND administrators and CSC superiors had meetings to address the trajectory of events, with the outcome being that Fr. Miscamble's superiors issued a "cease and desist" order.
- The implication was that, if he did not cease and disist, Fr. Miscamble's presence at UND might very well be jeopardized. He could always be transferred to the University of Portlandia, for example.
- Being a loyal CSC, Fr. Miscamble deferred to his superiors' will.
Not wanting Fr. Miscamble to be a "voice crying out in the desert," what those UND administrators and CSC superiors did was to take a page from the Dominican playbook--remember they ran the Inquisition to rout the heretics--and silenced a loyal CSC priest-professor who cared deeply about the vitality of the Catholic intellectual tradition at UND.
Put less elegantly, UND's administrators and CSC superiors lowered the 16-inch Howitzers of intolerance and aimed directly at Fr. Miscamble, offering him what's otherwise euphemistically called the "deal of a lifetime."
So, what's this mean for UND?
Forget Catholic and even catholic as in "universal." Silencing Fr. Miscamble indicates there is no First Amendment right to free speech or association. It also indicates there is no academic freedom to pursue the truth freely and in an unfettered way...wherever the facts may lead.
At UND, it's pretty clear that diversity and inclusion mean "Just shut up, Father...or else!"
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Sycamore Trust post, click on the following link:
To visit the NDCatholic.com website, click on the following link: