A new fund for pro-life activities has been established at the University of Notre Dame under the auspices of the Center for Ethics and Culture. The Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life aims to support pro-life activities at both student and university levels.
Noting that the sanctity of human life deserves protection in all stages, a statement from the Center for Ethics and Culture said that the fund focuses on the beginning stages of life. These stages are “particularly vulnerable” in contemporary culture, the Center says, and represent points at which “human dignity and human life are subject to the most egregious attacks.”
The fund aims to educate Notre Dame students in “the rich intellectual tradition supporting the dignity of human life” and to prepare the students to “transform the culture into one where every human life is respected” by means of personal witness, public service and prayer.
Additionally, the fund will encourage “relevant understanding, support and involvement” among the administration and the faculty while also promoting activities and projects which will enhance the university’s “institutional involvement and reputation as a leader” in pro-life issues.
Applications of the fund could include defraying transportation and other costs of student participation in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. and other off-campus seminars and conferences; paying expenses of the undergraduate and law school student right-to-life clubs in excess of what they already receive; and sponsoring essay contests and academic competitions which encourage scholarly development of pro-life issues.
Funding for speakers and seminars on campus could also benefit, as could faculty, student and intern research into human life issues. The fund could be used to grant awards and prizes recognizing outstanding pro-life service or to develop relevant curricular offerings and programs.
The statement from the Center for Ethics and Culture emphasizes that the fund does not take away from student pro-life clubs, but “supports and amplifies” their activities and programs.
“Those groups currently receive some minimal University funding, and their fundraising efforts have not always been sufficient to support their desired agendas,” the statement said. “It is a challenge for students, who have just returned to campus each fall to start a new school year with a full course load and a panoply of extracurricular activities, to then carry the additional burden of trying to raise funds to support those activities.”
Fundraising shortfalls have made student pro-life activities “tentative” and have left some planned endeavors uncompleted.
“This new fund will not replace student fund-raising activities, but will be available as a backstop to ensure that the full student agenda of Right-to-Life activity gets funded each year,” the Center explained.
Administration of the fund will be overseen by a committee of five pro-life scholars. The committee chair will be Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture David Solomon. Initial committee members will be associate directors of the Center Daniel McInerny and Elizabeth Kirk, professor of history Rev. Wilson Miscamble, CSC and O. Carter Snead.
Snead, an associate professor of law, was former Chief Counsel for the President’s Council on Bioethics.
“No Fund expenditures shall be authorized which are disapproved by more than one member of the Committee,” the Center for Ethics and Culture statement reports.
The Center has asked for direct contributions, endowments and bequests to help support the fund.
The web site for the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture is located at http://www.nd.edu/~ndethics/