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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2010

For more information:
Kathie Sass: (217) 698-8500

The essential reason for the very existence of Catholic institutions of higher learning is to teach the truth. One of these truths is that God intended marriage to be a life-giving and loving commitment between a man and a woman until parted by death. Benedictine University is to be commended for its fidelity to the truth in upholding the faith and morals as taught by the Catholic Church.

As Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, I am grateful to officials of Benedictine University for their integrity in addressing the situation at the Springfield campus of Benedictine University, which is explained in the following statement issued yesterday by the university:

Since the publication by the Springfield State Journal-Register of an article concerning the employment status of Dr. Sharon (Laine) Tadlock, Benedictine University officials have received numerous e-mails demanding that the University reinstate Tadlock and apologize for its alleged actions concerning her.

The University’s policy is not to comment upon personnel matters. However, Tadlock has chosen to generate publicity by disclosing information to the newspaper that otherwise would have remained confidential. Therefore, University officials are making public their essential position in this matter.

The University did not terminate Tadlock’s employment. The University, for valid and lawful reasons, decided that it would not be consistent with the University’s mission as a Catholic institution of higher learning for Tadlock to continue in the office of Program Director of its Education program. Tadlock continued to receive full pay and benefits and was reassigned to a new position, specifically, the Director of Academic Quality Improvement Program Accreditation, Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness for the Springfield branch campus.   Tadlock is well-qualified to proceed forward in this position, and the appropriate University official with whom Tadlock discussed the position assured her of this. As University officials informed her several times, a refusal to report to work in this new position would be considered a resignation from employment. Tadlock in fact refused to begin work in the position, and hence University officials considered this to be a resignation on her part, in accordance with the multiple advance notices given to her.

As the newspaper article reported, some University officials were aware that Tadlock is a gay woman. However, Tadlock herself acknowledged her awareness that some aspects of her lifestyle are incompatible with fundamental Catholic beliefs, particularly a domestic partnership with another woman.

Benedictine University, as its equal employment opportunity policy states, does not discriminate on the basis of any legally protected group or status, including sexual orientation.  It was not Tadlock’s orientation, but rather the public disregard for fundamental Catholic beliefs, which was the basis for the University’s decisions. These decisions were made only after full discussions with the appropriate Diocesan officials.

As a religious institution, Benedictine University has statutory and constitutional exemptions or rights, including but not limited to its right to free association under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. University officials believe that its decisions regarding Tadlock were made for reasons both valid and lawful. In the event that Tadlock seeks legal redress, whether on the basis of the supposed “termination” or otherwise, the University will defend itself vigorously, and believes it will prevail.

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