According to the Notre Dame web site:
The following statement from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, is in response to the decision by Mary Ann Glendon to decline acceptance of the University’s Laetare Medal:
“We are, of course, disappointed that Professor Glendon has made this decision. It is our intention to award the Laetare Medal to another deserving recipient, and we will make that announcement as soon as possible.”
I am no expert in public relations, but regifting a prestigious medal should not even have been on the table. It runs the risk of adding injury to insult. For whoever is the runner-up recipient of the 2009 Laetare Medal will now undergo a level of scrutiny that would have not occurred if he or she were the first choice under different circumstances. Very, very strange.
(cross-posted on Southern Appeal)