Shame on Notre Dame: Officials Move to Erase Immigrant History

ISDA strongly condemns the actions of Notre Dame as it works to cover up our history and heritage.

By: Basil M. Russo, ISDA President

On Jan. 20, Notre Dame President John Jenkins issued a news release stating that he had decided to cover 12 murals of Christopher Columbus in the university’s administration building, so that they could no longer be viewed by the students or visitors to the university.

The beautiful murals were painted on the interior walls of the building between 1882-84 by Luigi Gregori, an Italian who served as an artist in residence and professor at Notre Dame.

The original purpose of the murals was to honor the sacrifices and contributions of the school’s immigrant students, largely Italian and Irish, at a time in America’s history when anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant sentiment were prevalent throughout our country.

Video: NIAF refutes controversial Notre Dame decision on Fox News

Instead of continuing to honor that noble message, President Jenkins has chosen to demean himself and the university by pandering to the demands of the student activists who sought their removal.

By doing so, Jenkins has dishonored the legacy of European Catholics with this feeble attempt to appease some Native Americans, and their small but vocal group of student supporters, who want to rewrite world history to conform to their own distorted political and social agendas.

Columbus’s epic journey was one of the most significant events in world history. By joining the Old World with the New World, Columbus began the process of over 525 years of worldwide immigration to the Americas by people seeking a better life for their families.

Because of Columbus, European immigrants founded our great country, and its people went on to create the greatest advancements in democracy, education, medicine, technology and science that the world has ever known.

All of which have immeasurably benefitted all of mankind, including the student activists who — instead of being grateful for all this country has afforded them — choose to complain that our country hasn’t done enough for them.

Our society needs to move away from this concept of victimization, where too many of us choose to blame everyone else in society for whatever problems may exist in our lives, instead of assuming personal responsibility for our lives.

Jenkins has failed miserably in his role as president of one of our country’s most esteemed Catholic universities by advocating censorship, by placing the interests of some Native Americans and their radical student supporters above those of every other ethnic group in society, and by dishonoring the legacy of Catholic Europeans to our country.

He should immediately rescind his irresponsible edict, or be removed as president of Notre Dame University.

ISDA members are encouraged to write, or email, both the university’s president and chairman of its board of trustees to express the fact that we are offended by this decision and request that the president rescind his decision.


Rev. John I. Jenkins C.S.C.               

Office of the President                            

University of Notre Dame                           

400 Main Bldg                                              

Notre Dame, IN 46556                                    



John J. Brennan, Chair

Board of Trustees

University of Notre Dame

400 Main Building

Notre Dame, IN 46556




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