Marquette University recently announced the establishment of its new LGBT + Alumni Council and will be hosting a special reception for the group on March 31. To our knowledge, this is the University’s first alumni group based on sexual preference. As one of our Facebook commenters noted, perhaps this is the start of a new trend?

Meanwhile, alumni who are aware of actual Catholic teaching and believe that an institution that markets itself as “Catholic” ought to respect and represent that teaching, receive, at best, condescending spin and misdirection when bringing their concerns to the administration.

Certainly the Louis Joliet Society has never received any acknowledgment from Marquette administration regarding our concerns aside from a couple of vaguely worded retorts from Marquette Campus Ministry defending their LGBTQ Mass sacrilege.

And now this…

A prominent Marquette alumna recently wrote a letter to Dr. Lovell, President of Marquette University, expressing her concern over reports that Marquette was proudly becoming the eighth Jesuit college or university to offer gender-neutral bathrooms to accommodate individuals who consider themselves transgender (see reports here, here, here, here and here).

This alumna is a graduate of the class of 1959. She is a recipient of the University’s William R. Duffy Memorial Award and the Marquette University Alumni Association’s Service to the University Award. She has served as a class agent, on the Marquette National Advisory Board, and as a Regional Director for the Alumni Association. She says that in the past she has “had a very pleasant interchange with Dr. Lovell.”  This is someone who loves her alma mater and its Catholic foundation.

Here is her original letter to Dr. Lovell.

Dear Dr. Lovell, I do not doubt that you have what would be considered by many to be much more serious issues with which to deal than the matter of Marquette giving consideration to gender-neutral bathrooms.  However, I have recently learned that this is, in fact, under consideration at my alma mater.  And I happen to consider it a highly important issue.  And of course, as you might expect, I am writing to express my strong disapproval, for what my opinion may be worth.  This action would be opposed to Church teaching on human sexuality, even according to Pope Francis, as I am certain that you must surely know. So, for whatever my input may be worth, I implore you to come against this action!  I have admired the expression of your Catholic Christian faith in the past, and have corresponded with you about that.  Catholic universities do NOT need to follow secular institutions in this kind of craziness!  Least of all does Marquette!  I believe that, as a man of Faith, you agree!  Perhaps my support will carry some weight in this decision, merely as an alumna who has worked hard on behalf of the university much of her adult life. Sincerely,


But for some reason, Dr. Lovell and staff passed Jenny’s letter onto Michael VanDerhoef, Vice President for University Advancement – Marquette’s fundraising department. Here is Mr. VanDerhoef’s response to her concerns.

Dear “Jenny”,

I understand from Dr. Lovell that you have expressed a concern regarding our revised approach to restroom accommodations in some of our student-housing. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, we value greatly the input of our alumni and I welcome the opportunity to respond to your note.

Our intent is to make restrooms available to all of our students as a matter of convenience. The restrooms in question are for use by one person at a time and can be opened only with a key. While students of either gender may use the facilities, the restrooms are private and secure, like the accommodations you would find in a private home. Because the bathrooms can only accommodate one student at a time, there is often a wait caused by the gender designation, and this change improves restroom access for all.  

We are among many other Catholic and Jesuit universities who have adopted this measure to better serve the needs of our students in university-owned residence buildings. Please know that we always support the best interests of the young women and men who are entrusted to us, and our Catholic, Jesuit identity is at the heart of all we do.

Thank you for writing and I hope this response will help you be more comfortable with our decision. Best wishes.

Michael VanDerhoef Vice President for University Advancement Marquette University Zilber Hall, Suite 421 P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, WI  53201-1881 Office: 414-288-7434

Curious. No mention whatsoever of “inclusivity”, “diversity”, “transgender students”, “the LGBTQ Community” or anything of the sort. Just a routine change of signage to make things more convenient. Why on earth would anyone be upset about that? Odd that Marquette and other Catholic and Jesuit universities would feel the need to trumpet such an everyday, common sense measure nationwide, isn’t it? Odd that, as the Cardinal Newman Society article points out, Marquette’s official statement acknowledged the move’s nod to accommodating transgenderism: “We are installing gender-neutral signage outside some restrooms in university-owned residence buildings to better serve the needs of all our students, which includes transgender students,” responded Chris Jenkins, associate director of university communication.  

“Jenny” was having none of it. Here’s her response to Mr. VanDerhoef.

Mr. VanDerhoef, Your response is highly disingenuous. While practically speaking, it certainly makes sense to make single-person bathrooms available to both sexes, that is NOT the reason Marquette gave for why they made this change. Mary Janz, Marquette’s Director of Residence Life, expressed very plainly in the Marquette Tribune that this move was being made to accommodate Marquette’s students who consider themselves transgender. You can read about it here, in case you may not have seen it, or in case you might believe that you are communicating with an uninformed alumna. On this issue, I would think the “transgendered” community would be as upset as the Catholic community.  Which is it?  Did you do this to accommodate transgendered students as you originally declared……or not? I remind you, Mr. VanDerhoef, that I was writing to express my concern that Marquette does not seem to care to behave as if it is neither Catholic nor Christian……any different than secular universities.  This concerns me a great deal.  For example, we have a sixteen-year-old grandson who just achieved an almost-perfect score on the PSAT as a high school sophomore.  He happens to be an exceptional and highly-recognized athlete nationally, too, as well as an accomplished musician.  He loves the Lord and his Catholic faith.  I would so very much like to allow Marquette to have their chance at recruiting him as a student in the 2018 Freshmen Class.  But I cannot, in all good conscience, recommend Marquette to him at this time.  It is definitely NOT the university that I knew, nor the university that our daughter knew when she graduated.  Neither is it a university that can, in good conscience, continue to call itself Catholic.  It makes me very, very sad. I don’t know who’s calling the shots there, but I had great hope when Dr. Lovell took the reins of the university that we could draw closer to our Catholic roots.  I believe him to be a devout Catholic Christian.  Apparently, he has no particular influence in this regard. Sincerely, “Jenny”

Jenny has not as yet received any response to her follow-up letter (going on two months). And so it goes.

We regard this as yet another piece of evidence demonstrating Marquette University’s increasing disregard and disrespect for alumni who take their Catholic faith seriously, and its accelerating submission to the secular cult of gender ideology which the Roman Catholic Church has very clearly identified as destructive to souls and families.

We pray that more alumni, parents and students will take notice and let Marquette leadership know that they do not approve of this deformation of their once great alma mater.