Monthly Archives: November 2009

Staying abreast of Wheeling Jesuit

More today from the mediums in re: High-profile Wheeling Jesuit alum-lobbyist-former-WVa gubernatorial cabinet member Steve Haid’s withdrawing $650,000 in pledged bequests to protest August firing of President Julio Giulietti SJ:

* Charleston State Journal, subheading, “Interim President J. Davitt McAteer said he is not worried about fund raising efforts,” has this from Wheeling Jesuit’s McAteer:

“Haid is one of 10,000 graduates of Wheeling Jesuit University and our fund raising efforts are continuing.  . . . Since Aug. 6 [day of the firing], nearly 500 alumni has [sic] made donations. In fact, the number of pledges to the President’s Circle, which had declined over the past two years, have increased over the past three months.”

The President’s Circle includes legacy givers and givers of $1,000 and up in a range of four “societies,” the most generous of which is for givers of $25,000 and up, according to the WJU web site.

* Wheeling News-Register, relying in part on AP, has this:

The Rev. James Shea, provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, stressed that Bransfield played no role in the firing.

This without saying it talked to Shea, which is odd.

* West Virginia public radio gives beaucoups de time and space to the current WJU administration, with barely a nod to its critics:

Officials at Wheeling Jesuit University say they are moving forward in the right direction since the Board of Trustees at the college decided to change leadership in August.

Enrollment and giving are up, says interim President McAteer, citing donations from “nearly 500” alums and a rise in President’s Circle pledges, as above.

Noting “public fallout from friends of Giulietti over how the change in leadership was handled,” the station could not reach Haid but did reach “vice chair of WJU’s Board of Directors, Mimi Helm,” who simply denied Bishop Bransfield’s role in decision-making:

“I have attended every meeting over the last year for the entire meeting every single time. The Bishop has nothing to do with the workings of the board. We had meetings and discussions, we made some decisions, not the Bishop.”

She also described the recently suspended search for a new president attractively:

“We have the people in place so we can take our time and do a really thorough job. The search this time is . . . unique in the history of the school because we are able to look for a Jesuit or non-Jesuit candidate as the number of the Jesuit’s [sic] decline in the United States and it becomes more of our lay people’s mission to carry the Jesuit spirit forward and to do that with the next president.”

More more more as items arise . . .

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Wheeling Jesuit Alum story gets legs

Other mediums are picking up on the Wheeling Jesuit Alum story, first reported here.  PhillyBurbs.com has this nice summary:

Charleston lobbyist Steve Haid says he’s withdrawing a planned gift of $650,000 in money and property to Wheeling Jesuit University, his alma mater.

Haid says he’s upset with the abrupt departure of the school’s former president, the Rev. Julio Giuletti, earlier this year.

Haid served as an unpaid assistant helping to generate donations to the university under Giuletti. Haid believes the Jesuit was forced out in a power struggle involving Bishop Michael Bransfield.

Bryan Minor, a spokesman for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, says the bishop had nothing to do with Giuletti’s [sic] selection or departure from the university.

The university has temporarily halted its search for a new president. For the first time, the university is considering candidates who aren’t Jesuit priests.

That’s based on the Charleston Gazette, which adds this:

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Haid takes this position on withdrawing his estate gift,” [interim President J. Davitt] McAteer said in a prepared statement. “We have not seen any decline in our fundraising numbers and donations. We are moving forward and working on the business of running a university in a positive manner.

“We regret that Mr. Haid cannot join us.”

The Gazette continues, giving an expanded account of the August firing (its first) and quoting a Giulietti supporter, Charleston attorney Rudolph DiTrapano:

“I was outraged. That’s why I resigned [as a director],” DiTrapano said of the vote. “I thought Giulietti was very gifted. He was a very unusually bright priest.”

DiTrapano also is discontinuing his funding of a Wheeling Jesuit scholarship, the Gazette reports.

Haid is also quoted.

“As the letter indicates, there has been a hostile takeover of the university by factions controlled by the bishop and other elements that I don’t think are supportive of the mission of the university or its rich history or commitment to quality education,” Haid said Wednesday.

Ditto the bishop, through Bryan Minor, a spokesman for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

“Bishop Bransfield has repeatedly indicated that he did not have a role in the selection of Father Julio Giulietti . . . and he has not had a role in [his] departure . . . ” Minor said Wednesday.

The university “does not fall under the umbrella of the Diocese . . .  We do share a common ministry to the young men and women of West Virginia, and the diocese and the university do continue to collaborate because Wheeling Jesuit is the only Catholic institution of higher education in West Virginia,” Minor said.

The Gazette notes that an Aug. 6 press release gave no reason for Giulietti’s removal, but said he was leaving to “continue pursuit of his ministry,” with focus on spirituality, faith, personal development and international outreach.

Haid called that no more than “an attempt to sugarcoat a bitter pill.”

As for the recent suspending of the search for a new president, Haid:

“The truth of the matter is nobody wants to go there,” he said. “They had a great president and they ran him out of town and consequently they can’t find anyone worthy of the job.”

Not so, replied the university:

“University presidents come from a highly competitive field of professionals and it’s not unusual for a search to take longer than planned and to twist and turn along the way. It has absolutely nothing to do with the August departure of our previous president,” Margaret “Mimie” Helm, chairwoman of the Presidential Search Committee and vice chairwoman of the board of directors, said in a prepared statement.

“This is also the first time that the position is open to lay persons and not just Jesuit priests, which also changes the search from our past experience.”

Meanwhile, apart from the Gazette story (its first extended treatment of the Giulietti firing), the Jesuit provincial (Maryland province) with responsibility for Wheeling Jesuit is due on campus Nov. 16 to celebrate the noon Liturgy with fellow Jesuits in honor of the feast of St. Joseph Pignatelli, the university’s patron saint.

A graduate who is close to the scene comments to Blithe Spirit:

He’s not crossing the Alleghenies to do a liturgy.  He’s going to announce something.  I don’t know what, but it will be interesting.

Finally, Joseph Pignatelli, S.J., who, having entered the Jesuits in 1753, was on hand for their suppression in 1773 and is credited with regaining papal accreditation in 1814, though he died three years before that.  He was canonized in 1954, the year Wheeling Jesuit (then Wheeling College) was founded.

It’s not too late to start a novena to him, is it?

The content of their character

This from the redoubtable Heather Mac Donald in City Journal tells us what “even playing field” means to some people — equal results, across the board:

As part of its plan to comply with a federal desegregation order now decades old, Tucson’s school district adopted racial quotas in school discipline this summer.

Schools that suspend or expel Hispanic and black students at higher rates than white students will now get a visit from a district “Equity Team” and will be expected to remedy those disparities by reducing their minority discipline rates.

In Oak Park discipline rates are regularly discussed with a view to disparity of punishment.  Objectors to how more often blacks are punished even brought in elected officials from outside Oak Park.  But nothing like this has happened.  No one has called from a quota that I know of.

As for the language abuse embodied in that “playing field” stuff, it’s been lambasted best by George Orwell in his “Politics and the English Language,” in which he notes the role of language in stultifying our processes:

[Our language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

The ebullient, even bombastic Ezra Pound was even more condemnatory in “A Problem of (Specifically) Style” in 1934:

[A] tolerance for slipshod expression in whatever department of writing gradually leads to chaos . . . and a progressive rottenness of spirit.

In Tucson the pattern seems clear enough:

Tucson’s administrators explain their disciplinary quota pressure on the ground that students removed from class lose valuable learning time, exacerbating the already great ethnic academic achievement gap.

Such thinking ignores the students who are not disrupting class or threatening teachers and who also lose valuable learning time when unruly or violent students remain in the classroom.

Mac Donald adds:

Surely those students have a greater claim to “equity” in school resources than gang members do.

Schools are to look for “root causes” in bad behavior.  Mac Donald:

I can save them some time: the root cause of disparate rates of suspension is disparate rates of bad behavior.

“Single parenting” is the biggest one.

If the Tucson school board wants to publicize the essential role of fathers in raising law-abiding children, it might start solving the problem of disciplinary imbalance.

But until then, it should let schools resolve their discipline problems in a color-blind fashion, without worrying about a visit from an “Equity Team.”

It’s “the content of their character,” as Martin Luther King said in his “I have a dream” speech.

Rev. Jesse Jackson wants no part of that.  He calls invoking King in this context is “intellectual terrorism.”  Orwellian, right?

Prominent Wheeling Jesuit alum slams Giulietti firing

A contributor and volunteer fund-raiser for Wheeling Jesuit University has withdrawn his promised support amounting to $650,000 in cash and property bequests in protest of the firing in August of Rev. Julio Giulietti, SJ, as president.

The firing was “the most cowardly, deceitful and morally perverse action that I have ever witnessed,” said Stephen E. Haid in an Oct. 18 letter to interim President J. Davitt McAteer.  Blithe Spirit has obtained a copy of the letter.

Haid, a 1963 graduate of Wheeling Jesuit and longtime teacher at West Virginia University until becoming a teachers union lobbyist and then campaign chairman and later cabinet member in Gov. Gaston Caperton’s administration, blames the firing on three people or groups:

* Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling, who “wanted to slap [Giulietti] down” because Giulietti “sought to acquire the [adjacent] Mount de Chantal property for Wheeling Jesuit.”

* “An element on the Board of Directors . . . who want to micromanage the University, who want any president to be an errand boy.”

* The three Jesuit trustees who “in an irregular night session” voted to fire Giulietti.

Haid was named last March by Giulietti as one of two Special Assistants to the President for Advancement to work on planned giving, endowment development and alumni partnerships, with an office on campus.

It was a continuation of his working “very closely” with Giulietti “for at least a year,” he said in his letter.

Among Haid’s other activities is to serve with Bishop Bransfield on the board of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund, founded in 1989 by Gov. Caperton, who later became president of The College Board.

Haid has also served on the board of governors of Marshall University, in Huntington, WV — at one time as a member of its executive committee.

RC bishops backing off

The RC bishops have cut off two more organizations — ACORN being already tossed under the prelatial bus — from Catholic Campaign for Human Development funding.

One of them is

the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), which has been funded for the last four years, and was set to receive $30,000 this year.  The CPA’s 2008 voters guide (on the BVM website here and here) urged Californians to vote against enshrining the true definition of marriage in the state’s constitution (proposition Eight) and requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortions (proposition 4)

The other:

the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) . . . which has been funded for the last five years and was to receive $40,000 this year.  LACAN has promoted same-sex ‘marriage’ and actively supports contraception and the morning-after pill through a clinic at the Downtown Women’s Center.

They were both fingered by the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, “a Catholic grass-roots organizing ministry dedicated to truth and action,” which also says this about itself:

Unlike community organizing groups which bring men together to create faceless political power and revolution, we recognize the inherent dignity of each person created by God . . . .  We do not strive to create power . . . .  Instead, we seek to instill the fearless hope that comes from walking in light and truth.

CCHD director Ralph McCloud announced himself “shocked” at being informed of the un-Catholic proclivities of the two now-defunded organizations.  But it’s a claim that Churchmouse Campanologist (“Ringing the bells for Christian traditions and getting our story out there. If we don’t, who will?”) found hard to swallow:

(A) 26-page list on the USCCB website . . . [has] all the hallmarks of organisations no true Catholic would wish to donate to. 

It includes multiple references to:

Industrial Areas Foundation’ [Alinsky legacy from its beginnings], ‘PICO’ [People Improving Communities through Organizing, mostly by churches], ‘community organisation’?  It must follow, therefore, that these groups espouse a leftist philosophy and will support leftist programmes, whether sexual, social or political.  

Sounds right to me.  RC bishops have been captured?

20 Brit parishes off to Rome

First off the block to join the RC’s:

At the 2009 Assembly of the Traditional Anglican Communion UK, the following resolution was passed:

That this Assembly, representing the Traditional Anglican Communion in Great Britain, offers its joyful thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his forthcoming Apostolic Constitution allowing the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and requests the Primate and College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion to take the steps necessary to implement this Constitution.

The Assembly also suggests Bishop Robert Mercer as a possible candidate for Ordinary.

That’s “twenty or so parish communities,” says Fr. Tim Finigan at The Hermeneutic of Continuity.

 

To the NY 23 victor go the — what?

Yesterday’s loser in NY 23, Doug Hoffman, is in for a hard time as a Republican?

Hoffman’s candidacy generated much talk of a civil war in the GOP. Ironically, it is [the winner, Bill] Owens who is about to learn firsthand what it’s like to belong to a majority that brooks no dissent.

That’s Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online, who has more:

When Blue Dogs voiced their concerns over the speed at which Pelosi was attempting to ram the health-care overhaul through the House, their fellow Democrats responded with contemptuous sneers.

Rep. Maxine Waters, the liberal lawmaker from California, criticized Rahm Emanuel’s strategy of recruiting conservative Democrats to run in right-leaning districts, saying that Emanuel’s “chickens have come home to roost.” Former DNC chief Howard Dean warned of primary challenges for Blue Dogs if they didn’t support the public option.

And those will be his seatmates and/or fellows in politics between now and the next election in less than a year?

 

Park National double-crossed?

Today’s Trib reports a letter from banker Michael Kelly to Oak Park-based FBOP employees that more or less blames FDIC for its going under — rules change did them in, he says.

Kelly, who lives in next-door-to-Oak Park River Forest (IL), has been quite a financial supporter of Christ the King Jesuit College Prep on the West Side, on the former Resurrection parish school property.

Don Harmon on the move

Not sure what this means.  On the surface, it seems that Harmon is making his move, Davis is dithering and losing out — as he is bound to, being so obviously left-wing and an unreliable campaigner to boot.

Sen. Don Harmon has filed for 7th District State Central Committeeman against Congressman Danny Davis. Davis has filed for Congress and Cook County Board President. He has until next Monday to decide which office to seek.

That is, I don’t know if it’s a surprise or what it represents by way of guard-changing.

Wimp city

Dennis Byrne finds much to complain about in Illinois and Chicago corruption:

Chicago is wimp city. A city full of obsequious voters, businesses and civic groups that have been repeatedly swindled, scammed and hosed by local politicians. Yet, with each betrayal, the serfs continue to grovel before such liege lords as Mayor Richard M. Daley and House Speaker Michael Madigan and beg for more of the same. Nothing is egregious enough to inspire insurrection by the city and state’s vassals.

Overstated?  Take plastics, into which The Graduate was urged to go on his big day:

Daley now is fighting to keep a huge national plastics industry convention from fleeing Chicago, its 40-year home. The show brought in $95.3 million last June, but it appears the exhibitors are fed up with the extravagant costs they must pay to riggers, tradesmen and other organized workers at McCormick Place. As the trade publication Plastics News reported, Daley met Wednesday in his office with convention officials to plead with them to stay.

Won’t you stay here, Bill Plastics, won’t you stay here?

As trade show exhibitor Tim Hanrahan explained in the publication, it cost $345 to get four cases of Pepsi to his booth. “The invoice breaks down to $254 for the four cases of Pepsi, a 21 percent service charge, and a 10.25 percent Illinois state sales tax, a 3 percent Chicago soft drink tax, a tax on the service charge and a food and beverage tax. Government taxes totaled $38.06, which is more than the legitimate retail price of the soft drinks,” he said. “I could go on. A $640 TV stand rental is another good example,” he said. “But you get the point.”

Taxes, we got taxes.  Like California:

In America’s federal system, some states, such as California, offer residents a “package deal” that bundles numerous and ambitious public benefits with the high taxes needed to pay for them. Other states, such as Texas, offer packages combining modest benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over what it means to get the size and scope of government right.

Thus spake William Voegeli in LA Times, in a shortened version of a City Journal article.

[T]here’s an intense debate over which model is more admirable and sustainable. What is surprising is the growing evidence that the low-benefit/low-tax package not only succeeds on its own terms but also according to the criteria used to defend its opposite. In other words, the superior public goods that supposedly justify the high taxes just aren’t being delivered.

Take California, where taxes are high and things aren’t working, vs. Texas, where they are low and things are.  Take Chicago, where a $95.3 million convention is considering saying adieu, my friends, adieu, can no longer stay with you, and the big news is budget crunch and threatened services.  Please?

 

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