This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: "President Obama, stay away." The University of Notre Dame is taking massive heat for inviting President Obama to make a commencement address at the college, and that what some students are saying, "Stay away." That commencement is scheduled for May 17.
Why are some outraged? Joining us live from South Bend, Indiana on the edge of the Notre Dame's campus are two Notre Dame student protesting the president's address, Mary Daly, President of Notre Dame's campus Right to Life Club, and Kathleen Donahue, editor in chief of the student journal "Beyond Politics."
Kathleen, first to you, the President of United States, most colleges are dying to get someone with that stature as a commencement speaker. You don't want him?
KATHLEEN DONAHUE, NOTRE DAME STUDENT: Thank you, Greta. Thanks for having us on your show. We really appreciate it.
It's not that Notre Dame students don't want it. That's not really the issue that is at hand here.
The issue is that Notre Dame is a Catholic university. And hosting a prominent pro-choice politician such as the president, who has actively pursue the pro-choice policies, is in direct contradiction to our distinct Catholic university mission statement. So that is the issue at hand here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mary, what is going to happen? Where is your protest going?
MARY DALY, NOTRE DAME STUDENT: Right now, we have officially established a coalition. Currently, it is 11 campus groups, and that number is actually growing.
And right now we don't have any plans to present to the public. However, as we speak, our fellow commissioners on the coalition, our fellow student leaders are planning and organizing student-led expressions and demonstrations to get what we think is a very important message to be made out to people.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kathleen, didn't President Bush's speak at Notre Dame?
DONAHUE: Yes, President Bush did speak at Notre Dame.
VAN SUSTEREN: Wasn't he at odds with the Pope on the war in Iraq, or is my memory is faulty?
DONAHUE: Your memory is not faulty, Greta. But I think that right now the issue is not what Notre Dame has done in the past. Yes, we have extended invitations to previous presidents. But I think that the issue right now is specifically President Obama and his actions against the pro-life mantra of the Catholic Church. So that is really the issue that's at hand here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mary, who invited him? Who picks your commencement speakers?
DALY: There is a committee of faculty who are in charge of selecting and inviting the commencement speaker.
DONAHUE: But, ultimately, it's the university president who will sign off and extend the formal invitation to, in this case, to President Obama.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is he saying about your protest?
DONAHUE: President Jenkins is not really addressing our protest yet, but he has addressed the massive concern that we have gotten from Notre Dame alum and just the broad Catholic community.
And he has addressed the same thing that in honoring President Obama, we are not honoring his position on abortion, but rather we are honoring his position on leadership.
And we personally feel that you cannot honor someone who violates the fundamental moral principles of the Catholic Church at a Catholic institution.
And the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference in 2004 had a document entitled "Catholics and Political Life." And what they stated was that the Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our moral principles.
So really, it's kind of a conflict of interest for a Catholic institution such as Notre Dame.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mary, Kathy, we will be watching to see what happens. Thank you both for joining us. And I take it you both are graduating, so congratulations.
DONAHUE: Thank you, Greta.
DALY: Thank you.
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