The mural at the Hesburgh Library, commonly known as “Touchdown Jesus,” is seen on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Here’s a twist regarding a controversial new website called “Professor Watchlist,” which has the names of some 200 academics deemed by a conservative group to be advancing “leftist propaganda” in classrooms and discriminating against conservative students.

While most teachers at any level education would generally prefer to remain off politically motivated lists,  more than 100 faculty members at the University of Notre Dame say they want their names added to Professor Watchlist, a project of the nonprofit organization Turning Point USA. The group’s website says it is a national movement that seeks to “educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” Critics call it an assault on academic freedom.

The watch list includes two academics from Notre Dame. One is philosophy professor Gary Gutting, who is on the list, according to the watch list website, because he wrote that the country’s “permissive gun laws are a manifestation of racism.” That came from  a 2015 analysis about gun laws that Gutting wrote for the New York Times. The other is Iris Outlaw, director of Multicultural Student Programs and Services at the Catholic university. She is on the list, the website says, because she “taught a ‘white privilege’ seminar that pledged to help students acknowledge and understand their white privilege.”

The Notre Dame faculty members who signed the open letter said the people now on the list are, actually, “the sort of company we wish to keep.”

Here’s the brief letter in full. It was also published on the website of the Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame.

Dear Professor Watchlist,

We, the undersigned faculty at the University of Notre Dame, write to request that you place our names, all of them, on Professor Watchlist.

We make this request because we note that you currently list on your site several of our colleagues, such as Professor Gary Gutting, whose work is distinguished by its commitment to reasoned, fact-based civil discourse examining questions of tolerance, equality, and justice. We further note that nearly all faculty colleagues at other institutions listed on your site, the philosophers, historians, theologians, ethicists, feminists, rhetoricians, and others, have similarly devoted their professional lives to the unyielding pursuit of truth, to the critical examination of assumptions that underlie social and political policy, and to honoring this country’s commitments to the premise that all people are created equal and deserving of respect.

This is the sort of company we wish to keep.

We surmise that the purpose of your list is to shame and silence faculty who espouse ideas you reject. But your list has had a different effect upon us. We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called “dangerous,” reaffirming our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently, and fearlessly.

So please add our names, the undersigned faculty at the University of Notre Dame, to the Professor Watchlist. We wish to be counted among those you are watching.

Most sincerely,

Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Spanish

Ani Aprahamian, Physics

Francisco Aragon, Institute for Latino Studies

Doug Archer, Hesburgh Libraries

Carolina Arroyo, Political Science

Katrina Barron, Mathematics

Kevin Barry, Kaneb Center

Christine Becker, Film, Television, and Theater

Gail Bederman, History

Patricia Blanchette, Philosophy

Susan D. Blum, Anthropology

Catherine E. Bolten, Anthropology and Peace Studies

John G. Borkowski, Psychology

Bruce Bunker, Physics

Elizabeth Capdevielle, University Writing Program

Matthew Capdevielle, University Writing Program

Robert Randolf Coleman, Art, Art History & Design

Brian Collier, Institute for Educational Initiatives

Philippe Collon, Experimental Nuclear Physics

Michael Coppedge, Political Science

David Cortright, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Mary D’Angelo, Theology

Antonio Delgado, Physics

Denise M. Della Rossa, German

Michael Detlefsen, Philosophy

Tarek R. Dika,  Program of Liberal Studies

Jane Doering, Gender Studies

Jean Dibble, Art, Art History & Design

Margaret Anne Doody, English

Kevin Dreyer, Film, Television, and Theater

John Duffy, English

Amitava Krishna Dutt, Political Science

Stephen M. Fallon, Program of Liberal Studies and English

Stephen Fredman, English

Christopher Fox, English

Judith Fox, Law School

Mary E. Frandsen, Music

Jill Godmilow, Film Television & Theater

Karen Graubart, History

Stuart Greene, English and Africana Studies

David Hachen, Sociology

Matthew E.K. Hall, Political Science

Darlene Hampton, First Year of Studies

Susan Harris, English

Randy Harrison, Hesburgh Library

Anne Hayner, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Peter Holland, Film, Television, and Theater

Romana Huk, English

Charlice Hurst, Mendoza College of Business

Lionel M. Jensen, East Asian Languages and Cultures

Debra Javeline, Political Science

Claire Taylor Jones, German and Russian

Michael Kackman, Film, Television, and Theater

Asher Kaufman, History and Peace Studies

Mary Celeste Kearney, Film, Television, and Theater; Gender Studies

Micha Kilburn, Physics

Janet Kourany, Philosophy

Thomas Kselman, History

Greg Kucich, English

Rev. Donald G. LaSalle Jr., First Year of Studies

Daniel Lapsley, Psychology

Erin Moira Lemrow, Institute for Latino Studies

Neil Lobo, Biological Sciences,

George Lopez, Peace Studies

Cecilia Lucero, First Year of Studies

Collette Mak, Hesburgh Library

Julia Marvin, Program of Liberal Studies

Maria McKenna, Institute for Educational Initiatives and Africana Studies

Sarah McKibben, Irish Language and Literature

Erin McLaughlinUniversity Writing Program

Joyelle McSweeney, English

Stephen Miller, Music

Ann Mische, Sociology and Peace Studies

Leslie L. Morgan, Hesbuirgh Library

Brian O’Conchubhair, Irish Language and Literature

Lisa Oglesbee, Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

Kathleen Opel, Notre Dame International

Jessica Payne, Psychology

Catherine Perry, Romance Languages and Literatures

Dianne Pinderhughes, Political Science

Pierpaolo Polzonetti, Program in Liberal Studies and Sacred Music

Margaret Porter, Hesburgh Library

Clark Power, Program of Liberal Studies

Ava Preacher, College of Arts and Letters

William Purcell, Center for Social Concerns

Benjamin Radcliff, Political Science

Steve Reifenberg, Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Karen Richman, Institute for Latino Studies

Charles Rosenberg, Art, Art History & Design

Deb Rotman, Anthropology

David F. Ruccio, Arts and Letters

Valerie Sayers, English

Catherine Schlegel, Classics

Roy Scranton, English

Susan Sharpe, Center for Social Concerns

Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Biological Sciences and Philosophy

John Sitter, English

Cheri Smith, Hesburgh Library

Donald Sniegowski, English

Thomas A. Stapleford, Program of Liberal Studies

James Sterba, Philosophy

Susan St. Ville, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Maria Tomasula, Art, Art History & Design

Steve Tomasula, English

Ernesto Verdeja, Political Science

Henry Weinfield, Program of Liberal Studies and English

John Welle, Italian

Michael Wiescher, Physics

Pamela Wojcik, Film, Television, and Theater

Christina Wolbrecht, Political Science

Martin Wolfson, Professor of Economics Emeritus

Danielle Wood, Center for Social Concerns