I am beginning the year as Editor-in-Chief of The Irish Rover with a return to first principles. As a sign of The Rover’s commitment to honest journalism, I wish to reaffirm our mission while inviting open discussion between campus publications at Notre Dame.

The Irish Rover was founded with three objectives in mind: 

 1. Defend the Faith and honorable traditions of this great University;

2.  Articulate conservative principles;

3.  Engage in collegial debate.

The Rover’s intent as a collegiate publication at Notre Dame is first and foremost to promote the university’s Catholic identity. Every member of The Rover’s editorial staff feels a deep loyalty toward Our Lady and her university. Our excellent Council of Faculty Advisors (listed in the column to the left of this editorial) shares our dedication to Notre Dame’s Catholic character. The council represents a wide range of academic expertise and political opinion; while we may disagree about university decisions or matters of politics, our unity of purpose in preserving Notre Dame as a Catholic institution produces respectful dialogue that better informs our editorial decisions.

            Our focus on the university’s Catholic identity produces a mixture of editorial content, including articles that highlight achievements in Catholic scholarship, the development of Catholic culture on campus, and decisions from the university administration that help or hurt the school’s Catholic character. 

One might question whether a mission as critical as defending Notre Dame’s Catholic character is jeopardized by editorial bipartisanship. Our conservative orientation originates from The Rover’s earliest days, when other campus publications offered a predominantly liberal perspective of politics within our university, our country, and our world. I believe that this marked difference of editorial opinion on campus remains the same today. The Rover will hold to conservative principles in the hope that our position encourages renewed discussion of life’s most exciting and troubling issues.

At the same time, The Rover seeks to be a place where the question of how Notre Dame can best be a Catholic university rises above partisan politics. While we realize that many of life’s most important questions are approached in the political sphere, we believe that our Catholic Faith and the timeless teachings of the Church best inform the answers to those questions. We hold that this transcending of politics must in turn positively influence the Catholic university’s commitment to promoting, often through political decisions or affiliations, the dignity of all people everywhere, including the unborn, the poor, the disabled, and the elderly.

The antagonism between The Observer and The Rover can be traced back through the whole of last year. In an attempt to suggest that The Observer’s editorial position is not as independent as it claims to be, The Rover published Editor-in-Chief Matt Gamber’s dismissive letter to Law Professor Emeritus Charles Rice, in which Gamber rejected Rice’s weekly column for its explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Parodies of The Rover in The Observer and Scholastic reflected campus-wide misconceptions of The Rover as a fanatical and disgruntled right-wing publication.

This year I hope to see a friendly rivalry between The Observer and The Rover, rather than a spiteful one. I offer Matt Gamber an apology for the offensive comments in former Production Chief Brandon Payne’s final “Cheers and Jeers” last spring. For the good of both papers and for the sake of improving campus journalism at Notre Dame, The Observer and The Irish Rover should respectfully oppose one another with an aim of understanding the distinct mission of each publication.

The Rover seeks to facilitate part of what the university’s mission statement desires in its community: “a forum where through free inquiry and open discussion the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.” As a student-led facilitator of this forum, The Rover welcomes all opinions as valuable contributions to discussion and debate. I eagerly invite readers to submit Letters to the Editor to us at ndirishrover@gmail.com. I also invite readers to visit The Rover’s new website at www.irishrover.net, where we maintain our online blog, our most recent issue, and our archives.

As a penultimate note, I wish to thank Mr. William Dempsey (ND ’52), President of The Sycamore Project, George Heidkamp (ND ’52), Treasurer and Secretary of The Sycamore Project, Dr. Paul Witkowski, and Dr. David Solomon, Executive Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. Each of these leaders has devoted precious hours of their time to ensuring that The Rover, a non-profit corporation, can continue to thrive for the sake of defending Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. I extend my deepest thanks to every donor who responded to The Rover’s request for help this summer. Due to your generous support, The Rover is on track to produce more issues this year than it has ever published previously, and we are now able to foot the bill for the reconstruction of our website.

Most importantly, The Rover’s mission is a joyful one. We invite you to join us in extolling the complementarity of faith and reason at one of the most renowned academic institutions in America.

Gabby is a PLS major who prefers classical music to Harry Potter.  Catch her strolling across the quad in a toga or contact her gspeach@nd.edu.