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Milwaukee Archbishop, Judicial Officer Raise Concerns Over Marquette Dean Candidate

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - Milwaukee’s Catholic archbishop and the church’s top judicial officer both raised concerns about the controversial job offer given to a dean’s candidate at Marquette University.

A spokeswoman said Archbishop Jerome Listecki called Marquette president Robert Wild, saying clergy and lay leaders were concerned about the offer to Jodi O’Brien. And the Journal Sentinel obtained a March 3rd letter from Father Paul Hartmann, the judicial vicar of the archdiocese. He wrote that O’Brien pursues subjects that, “cause tensions if not contradictions with Marquette’s Catholic mission and identity.”

O’Brien is a gender studies professor at Seattle who was in line to become Marquette’s next dean of Arts and Sciences. But the job offer was pulled after school officials became concerned about her writings about sexual orientation. O’Brien is a lesbian, but school officials say it’s not why she wasn’t hired.

At a meeting of students and alumni Tuesday night, Wild said the withdrawal had nothing to do with, “donor or outside influence.” But he said Marquette gets a lot of input from outside the university whenever hirings are made for the school’s high level positions. A number of students and instructors had opposed the pulling of O’Brien’s job offer.

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