ALSO, read letter from the Editor of The Wanderer


Monday – November 9, 2009

OPEN LETTER to the Ave Maria University Board of Trustees

(NOTE:  The Board of Trustees never responded to this letter).

Marielena Montesino de Stuart

My name is Marielena Montesino de Stuart.  I am a writer for The Wanderer– America’s oldest Roman Catholic newspaper.  The Wanderer is presented every week to Pope Benedict XVI, members of the Roman Curia, as well as Bishops on both sides of the Atlantic.  No one disputes The Wanderer’s history of defending Holy Mother Church.  I also write for The Roman Catholic World (my blog).

My husband and I own a home in the Town of Ave Maria, where we have resided with our young children, since 2007.  This is our permanent and only residence.

On Thursday, November 5, 2009 I received a telephone call from Branden E. Blackmur informing me that the Ave Maria University administration ordered that I be banned from the Golisano Press Conference, shortly before it was to begin, thereby cancelling an invitation that he had extended to me the day before at 3:49pm.  Mr. Blackmur  works for Falls Communications, and is in charge of extending invitations for Press Conferences at AMU.

In addition, the university administration ordered that I be banned, until further notice, from the university campus– which they specified is private property.

The accusation for the basis of this outrageous and unjust measure is that I am “disruptive” at meetings– according to Branden E. Blackmur’s statements to me over the telephone. I responded that I have never been “disruptive” at any meeting, and that there is no reason why my invitation to the Press Conference should be withdrawn.   I asked for further clarification, and Mr. Blackmur would only say that this was the order issued by the Ave Maria University’s administration.  I told him that I would go to the Student Union building in hopes of obtaining further personal clarification concerning this ambiguous accusation.   Mr. Blackmur said nothing further.

My husband drove me to the north side of the Student Union building, with our children.  As I walked towards  the building, I could see T.R. Minick, Head of Security, two Sheriff Deputies, and two security guards approaching me—plus a Sheriff patrol car waiting nearby.  (See photo below).

I was stunned by the presence of so much law enforcement waiting for me.  I had never experienced anything like this, except in Communist Cuba.  When my husband and children realized what was happening they began to quickly follow behind me.

This show of force, this deplorable act, had been ordered by the Ave Maria University administration—the same administration that claims to uphold the highest moral and Catholic principles.

Who in their right mind would buy a home here?—where a law-abiding resident is treated as one living in a despotic state.

I asked Mr. Minick if this extreme and outrageous measure could be because inside that Student Union building a billionaire by the name of Blase “Tom” Golisano, well-known for his pro-abortion stance, was about to be honored by the Ave Maria University administration for having given a large donation?  Mr. Minick would not answer.

It is worthy of note that I have never attended a university meeting, nor have I ever been disruptive on university property, nor elsewhere.

The only meetings I have attended in Ave Maria are those conducted by the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District in the Town of Ave Maria, and are for property owners. These meetings have nothing to do with Ave Maria University.  The meetings are all audio recorded by the Board of the Stewardship District.  These recordings are made available as a matter of public record, and are evidence that I have never been disruptive.

I attended the last Stewardship District meeting on November 3rd— two days before the Golisano Press Conference.  Mr. Paul Roney, Chief Financial Officer  of AMU was present, since he also serves as a member of the District board.

Most important is the fact  that the university administration is overreaching into town government —by issuing orders to control town residents, based on what they deem acceptable behavior at public government meetings. For the record, my questions during the town government meeting on November 3rd, were centered on non-compliance of Florida statutes, by the Ave Maria Town government.

The Ave Maria University administration stabbed the Town of Ave Maria in the heart, through the terrible choices it made on November 5, 2009.

A ban against me—is a ban against our family.  By issuing this unfair and cruel ban, the AMU administration has expressed total disregard for the closeness of our family, which is sacred.

My husband and I find ourselves trapped inside this remote town, with two young children—and no access to the institution that promised a church (which is part of the campus) lectures, sports events, a library, chapels, a cafeteria and deli open to the public—all on university property.

On Friday, November 6, I received an e-mail message from T.R. Minick, the Security Guard that waited for me and threatened me with an arrest the day before.  He issued two exceptions to the ban, giving me permission to go to church, and to the Adoration Chapel—without risking trespassing.  This is unacceptable.

Ave Maria University owns so much real estate on campus and in the Town of Ave Maria, all constituting private property, that it is impossible for anyone to know where the university property begins and where it ends—which leads me to an important question:

Who exactly issued the order to ban me, and is acting as my accuser—and does the decision made by this person override the power of the Board of Trustees?  Where is the evidence this person holds that I have been “disruptive at meetings”?

As of the time that I write this Open Letter, I have not received an explanation from the Ave Maria University administration concerning exactly how I have been disruptive.  Who will be banned next—and for what ambiguous reason?

The decision taken by the Ave Maria University’s administration to ban me—not just from the Press Conference, but from all the private property of the Ave Maria University campus, constitutes an attack on my character; therefore, I demand that the administration immediately issue a statement, with detailed evidence explaining this accusation.

Only the legal owner of the private property can lift the ban that is in place—not a security guard; therefore, I am respectfully requesting that this Board of Trustees oversee the complete  lifting of this ban, in writing and in the proper legal manner.

Finally, I would like to kindly request that a member of this Board of Trustees, who is not part of the AMU administration, respond to this Open Letter.

I remain sincerely,

Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Resident and Property Owner in Ave Maria

Reporter for The Wanderer (National Catholic Weekly)

REFERENCE: September 2007

Ave Maria University 11-05-09

Sheriff Deputy and Thomas Minick (Chief Security Guard) threaten me with arrest to keep me out of the Golisano Press Conference at Ave Maria University

You may also read Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s commentaries through: RenewAmerica,, The Dallas Morning News, U.S. Politics Today (an EIN Service for Political Professionals-*) Poynter Online, Spero News, Daily Estimate, The New Liturgical Movement-Poland, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes,  ProLife Blogs,  The Wanderer, The Times of India, etc. Notice to readers

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