Conservative Student Newspaper Wins

( – In a notable legal development at the University of Notre Dame, Tamara Kay, a sociology and global affairs professor known for her pro-choice stance, lost a defamation lawsuit against a student newspaper.

The lawsuit, initiated by Professor Kay, was in response to two articles she alleged contained “false and defamatory information” made by the Irish Rover, a conservative newspaper made by students from the University.

St. Joseph County Judge Steven David ruled against Professor Kay, finding that the statements in question were true and not made with actual malice. The judge also found no defamatory inference in the articles and noted that there were no damages directly linked to the reporting. He concluded that the statements were protected under the right to free speech, were connected to a public issue, and were made in good faith with a reasonable basis in law and fact.

The controversy stems from Kay’s public advocacy for abortion rights. The Irish Rover had reported on various activities by Kay, including sharing pro-abortion resources on social media and labeling herself as a Notre Dame “abortion rights expert.” The court recognized her active role in the national discussion on abortion through her public comments and academic publications.

Additionally, the newspaper highlighted that Kay had a sign on her office door offering assistance on “ALL Healthcare issues” and included a personal email address and the letter “J.” There was speculation that the letter “J” indicated a willingness to help students access abortion services. However, Kay clarified that it was meant to signal her readiness to assist victims of sexual assault. Judge David, in his ruling, stated that the letter “J,” in the context of Kay’s other public statements, could be reasonably interpreted as indicating a broader scope than merely sexual assault victim advocacy.

The Irish Rover’s editorial staff expressed relief and satisfaction at the ruling, seeing it as a victory for free speech and accurate journalism. They criticized Professor Kay for attempting to “silence and intimidate undergraduate students” through the lawsuit and hoped that the ruling would prevent similar efforts to suppress free speech in the future.

The paper expressed gratitude for Indiana’s Anti-SLAPP law, which they felt protected them from a frivolous lawsuit. They condemned Kay’s actions as “appalling,” given her position as a professor at the university and the defendants being students. The staff also reiterated their defense of their reporting as “fair and accurate.”

As of the latest reports, Professor Kay has not publicly commented on the ruling.