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As a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck, I am disgusted by the recent announcement that they have accepted a $5 million donation from Energy Transfer Partners, the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I won’t even start with the human rights violations against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. If University of Mary doesn’t want to be on the same side of the issue as Amnesty International or the United Nations -- so be it. But it seems to me that a Catholic institution should at least be on the same side as the pope.

In 2015, Pope Francis put out a 200-page encyclical calling on all Catholics to divest in fossil fuels. Over 40 Catholic organizations worldwide divested to the tune of $5.5 trillion. So how can University of Mary even begin to defend the ethics behind this new alliance with ETP?

U-Mary would do well to remember that although the developers of DAPL were able to successfully buy out North Dakota, the university is part of, and has a responsibility to, a global community. That community is watching. Does University of Mary sincerely not believe that future students are savvy enough to see what happened here? That prospective students actually care about getting a Catholic education from an institution that upholds the mandates of the pope?

I urge the University of Mary to donate that $5 million to the United Tribes Technical College. I urge Catholics across the state to insist on it. Shame on Monsignor James Shea. His leadership has put the University of Mary seriously out of step with its own stated values and ethics. I urge him to resign.

This is Benedictine?

Asher Noel, Minot

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