SAN FRANCISCO, California, FEB. 2, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Six professors at the St. Ignatius Institute are quitting after the University of San Francisco announced plans to absorb the institute into another USF program, effectively ending the Great Books curriculum.
The Friends of St. Ignatius Institute, an independent foundation, have set up a Web site www.friendsofsii.com to organize protests against the university's move.
In a letter to the institute's alumni, university president Father Stephen Privett said he wanted to "coordinate and concentrate the energy and resources currently allocated to the SII and Catholic Studies" program. He expressed his "appreciation" to SII director John Galten and assistant director John Hamlon, who will both lose their jobs.
The six professors who plan to resign at the end of the school year explained their reasons in a letter to the university.
"Throughout these 25 years, the institute has remained faithful to the vision of its founding Jesuit priests and that vision has borne much fruit," the letter said. It added that "certain individuals" within the university "have maintained a relentless assault on the institute, trying to undermine its integrity."
It added: "The injustice in the termination of Mr. Galten and Mr. Hamlon ... signals clearly that the university administration plans to alter fundamentally the character of the institute." The letter is signed by Thomas Cavanaugh, Raymond Dennehy, Rosemarie Deist, Erasmo Leiva, Kim Summerhays and Michael Torre.
The matter arises at a time when U.S. bishops are looking to implement John Paul II's apostolic constitution "Ex Corde Ecclesiae." The 1990 document aims to safeguard the Catholic identity of Catholic campuses.