By Kathleen Gilbert

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, November 30, 2009 ( – An anonymous advocate for the 88 Obama protesters who were arrested on the University of Notre Dame's campus in May sent an aerial message this month to remind University President Fr. John Jenkins of the arrestees' plight for witnessing to life.

The 88 individuals arrested on the university's campus while protesting President Obama's commencement address and honorary law degree May 17 are still facing charges of trespassing in St. Joseph County court.  While witnesses say pro-Obama protesters were allowed to roam free, the arrested individuals were singled out for displaying any pro-life message – including slogans on the sanctity of life, photographs of aborted children, a large wooden cross, and images of Mary. 

While the case is technically out of Notre Dame's hands, Fr. Jenkins has ignored repeated requests from advocates to request leniency for the witnesses, who face up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine if they are convicted. In a recent interview with, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha, who is representing the Notre Dame 88, said that Notre Dame's decision on the case, “would have decisive influence over whether the prosecutions went forward.” Brejcha said that were Fr. Jenkins to ask for leniency, his request would “have great weight with the prosecutor.”

Thus far, however, Notre Dame has not requested that the charges be dropped.

Freelance photographer Gary King photographed a plane carrying the message “Fr. Jenkins … Free the ND 88” circling the campus grounds just prior to a Notre Dame-Connecticut football game November 21.

Thomas Uebbing, a Notre Dame graduate, told LSN that the individual sponsoring the flyover wished to remain anonymous.  In a statement, the sponsor denounced Fr. Jenkins for planning to attend January's March for Life in Washington D.C. while refusing to help the arrestees, saying the attendance would be “empty” and that Jenkins should “do the right thing” by seeking leniency.

For more information on the Notre Dame 88, visit

See related coverage:

88 Pro-Lifers Arrested at Notre Dame Still Facing Jail Time: Thomas More Lawyer Again Asks Fr. Jenkins for Leniency