To the Chronicle of Higher Education

Your article regarding the Notre Dame Faculty Senate's "strong disapproval" of the president's intervention in a Theology Department hiring matter (December 13), contained an inaccuracy. The "unanimous" recommendation against the candidate was not from the Theology Department but its appointments committee. Several department members dissented from the strong majority who supported the committee. Moreover, the article neglected a factor essential to the story. It is Notre Dame policy that priests of the Congregation of the Holy Cross who are academically qualified be given special consideration by departments. Such a position is as an extra line, at no charge to the department.

We are faculty members at Notre Dame and elsewhere who happen to know Father Michael Baxter, C. S. C. and his work. We think he is more than well-qualified academically for the position to which he has been appointed. Indeed, we all have been highly impressed by his work as a scholar. We fully understand how President Malloy came to the conclusion that he is well-qualified for a position at Notre Dame. It is not true, as the spokesperson for the Faculty Senate implied, that only someone who is politically motivated could reach such a conclusion.

Baxter has been involved in the Catholic Worker movement and his radical perspectives are reflected in his work as a moral theologian. While many of us do not share that viewpoint, we think that Notre Dame is enriched if that viewpoint is represented there by such a talented and gracious scholar.

Scott Appleby, Notre Dame
John Garvey, Notre Dame
Robert George, Princeton
Philip Gleason, Notre Dame
Ruth Marie Griffith, Northwestern
Thomas Hibbs, Boston College
Frank Lentricchia, Duke
Alasdair MacIntyre, Duke
George Marsden, Notre Dame
Marvin R. O'Connell, Notre Dame
Leigh Schmidt, Princeton
David Solomon Notre Dame
Kenneth Surin, Duke
Beth S. Wenger, Pennsylvania
Robert Wuthnow, Princeton