Campus Notebook: Villanova, Notre Dame capture NCAA baskeball titles; faculty strike at Loyola

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Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson hoists the national championship trophy after defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 79-62, in the 2018 NCAA men's basketball championship April 2 in San Antonio. (CNS/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Robert Deutsch)

Editor's Note: Welcome to NCR's college roundup, where every Friday we bring you the latest news in Catholic college and university life. Do you have news you would like to share? Email James Dearie at jdearie@ncronline.org.

COLUMBUS, Ohio and SAN ANTONIO, Texas — For the first time in history, Catholic universities have won both the men's and women's NCAA National Championships in the same year.

On April 1, the University of Notre Dame women's basketball team was down 30-17 at the end of the first half. Arike Ogunbowale hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to lift the Fighting Irish over Mississippi State in the championship game, 61-58.

The win followed a dramatic season for the team, which managed a 29-3 record and Atlantic Coast Conference title despite four major injuries in the lineup. Head coach Muffet McGraw, who also coached the team to a national title in 2001, took home coach of the year honors.

The following day, the Villanova University Wildcats won the men's tournament, dominating the University of Michigan Wolverines in the national championship 79-62.

The win capped a 36-4 season and a stellar showing at the tournament, through which the Big East Conference champion Wildcats never faltered, winning every game by double digits. This is their second national title in three years.

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Muffet McGraw, head coach of the Notre Dame women's basketball team, cuts the net after her players defeated Mississippi State 61-58 April 1 in the championship game of the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. It was the second time Notre Dame's women have won the title. (CNS/Courtesy University of Notre Dame/Matt Cashore)

CHICAGO — Non-tenure track faculty at Loyola University Chicago held a one-day strike April 4, after negotiations between the university and the Loyola Workers Coalition stalled April 2. The union officially began in 2016 and has been negotiating with the university ever since, with no contract yet.

Non-tenure track faculty are often tasked with teaching core courses and are typically paid less than their tenure-track colleagues, while receiving far fewer benefits.

Around 300 people attended a rally for the union in front of the university's Mudelein Center for Fine and Performing Arts, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Negotiations are planned to resume April 20, but the union says that it is willing to continue its fight until it receives the deal it believes it deserves. "Don't make us shut the university down for a week," Sarita Heer, a non-tenured art history instructor warned Loyola in the Tribune.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame will confer an honorary doctor of laws degree upon Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich at its May 20 commencement, the university announced April 5

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Cupich is a former bishop and secretary at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, he launched a series of seminars on Amoris Laetitia; one of those was held at Notre Dame.

The university's announcement also names four others who will receive honorary degrees, including Bangladeshi jurist and freedom fighter Kamal Hossain, and Irish political scientist Louise Richardson, the first woman to be made vice chancellor at Oxford University.


ARLINGTON, Va. — A first-year student at Marymount University has been arrested and charged with a felony for a false bomb threat, the Washington Post reported April 2.

Washington, D.C., resident Samuel Nwalozie, 18, posted a bomb threat to Marymount on social media the morning of April 1. Police say it is unclear whether the threat was intended as an April Fool's Day prank. He was arrested about noon that day.

The campus was evacuated at about 11:15 a.m., while police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched for the reported explosive device. The campus was reopened a few hours later when none was found.

In addition to his felony charge, Nwalzie's case is under review at the university, where he could face further repercussions under its code of student conduct.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence at Avila University will host peace and environmental activist Fr. John Dear "to hear his message about the environmental aspect of peacebuilding as well as to learn from his example of nonviolent, civil disobedience in pursuit of justice and peace" April 17, Arica Maurer, the initiative's coordinator, said in a March 28 press release announcing the event.

Dear has been a prominent peace and environmental activist for many years, and has written dozens of books, including two in 2018, They will Inherit the Earth, and Radical Prayers. He was dismissed from the Jesuit order in 2014 due to conflicts with his superiors and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times.

Dear's lecture will focus on They will Inherit the Earth, the title of which refers to the beatitudes and Jesus' declaration that the "meek would be the ones to inherit the earth."


STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — In a March 30 blog post titled "He was Rejected…", Franciscan University of Steubenville web communications director Tom Crowe revealed that the university's Facebook page had been notified by Facebook that an advertisement posted to the platform containing an image of the San Domiano Cross would not be allowed to run.

"Your image, video thumbnail or video can't contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content," a Facebook notification told one of the university's page administrators.

"The San Damiano Cross. Jesus in glory, reigning from his cruciform throne," the blog post said. "This is what the monitors at Facebook consider excessively violent, sensational, and shocking."

On April 4, Facebook apologized, telling Fox News that the rejection of the ad was an oversight. "Our team processes millions of ads each week, and sometimes we make mistakes," a Facebook spokesperson said. "This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have already let the advertiser know we approved their ad."

The ad is part of an ad series for the university promoting some of its master's degree programs. All 10 ads now appear to be running without issue.

[James Dearie is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Contact him at jdearie@ncronline.org .]


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