The Daily Beast asks: Is Georgetown really that Catholic?

Proliferation of chapels and crucifixes notwithstanding, we actually aren’t that Catholic!

Over on the Daily Beast, Kathleen Kingsbury has made it her mission to debunk “bogus college stereotypes.” Earlier this week she took on entrenched stereotypes like “Oberlin is all hippies,” “Smith turns girls into lesbians,” “Villanova is so white and preppy” and, best of all, “Georgetown is so Catholic.”

Georgetown University—an officially Jesuit-affiliated school—might really be Catholic? You don’t say!

[A]at its heart, this is a Catholic university (America’s oldest) and visitors are quick to realize that. Consider the crucifixes that adorn most classrooms, the theology requirement, and the parking spaces that read “Jesuit Parking Only.” Plus, as exacted by Catholic doctrine, stores on Georgetown property can’t sell condoms.

Ok, so maybe Georgetown being Catholic isn’t such a “bogus stereotype” after all, right? Not so fast! This one Jewish student didn’t feel weird about it at all!

What [Jill Herskovitz] and her parents found both on their initial visit and in her four years there, however, was a diverse campus with an active Hillel—about 15% of the student body is Jewish—and a full-time Muslim chaplain. Jill filled her theology credits with “Problem of God,” a survey of world religions, and a Jewish Studies course. “It was probably the best four years of her life,” says her mother Joan, who now counsels other hesitant prospective Jewish parents. “She’d go back tomorrow if she could.”

I don’t know where Kingsbury got that 15 percent Jewish statistic (The Student Commission for Unity report puts it at 6.5 percent, and the Jewish Students Association website says it’s “approximately twelve to fifteen percent” of undergrads), but nice to know that we meet the Daily Beast‘s standards for religious diversity!

10 Comments on “The Daily Beast asks: Is Georgetown really that Catholic?

  1. Good call, lemme update the figures on the Wikipedia page. I assume that’s where 15% might have come from.

  2. Did someone actually use the word JAP on here? You stay classy, jerkass.

  3. Yeah, I saw Kingsbury’s first “College Stereotypes” post and thought it was pretty silly. It’s not hard to find some student to confirm or deny any sort of over-generalizing statement about a college. College stereotypes are called that for a reason–they go a bit too far, but are usually grounded in some sort of truth about the institution, making this a typical gimmicky, largely pointless Daily Beast feature.

  4. I’m confused with how “Georgetown is so Catholic” is disproven by the idea that Jewish students like it here. The school can be Catholic and welcoming of other religions.

    Like Sam said, some “investigative reporting” on the Daily Beast’s part. I took some one sentence generalizations about college,s and they weren’t entirely true. Surprise!

  5. Not that I don’t think that being Jewish at Georgetown gives me an interesting perspective of the school’s Catholic traditions, but I might think that a little more investigative reporting into what the school’s religious slant has meant for LGBT and feminist students over the past three decades would have been more interesting and rocked the boat a bit more.

  6. I was a Jewish student at Georgetown and absolutely loved it, exactly because it was “so” Catholic. I agree with Will Sommer, Jews liking it here doesn’t disprove that it’s Catholic. That’s like saying that foreigners liking America disproves its American.

    Also I have heard the 12-15% number a lot of places. SCUnity can’t be correct, I’m pretty sure I know enough Jews to personally to account for more than 6% of the student body. Aren’t SCUnity’s numbers based on non-scientific surveys? I’d privilege official university numbers anyday.

    Count half Jews and the number probably goes up to 30%.

  7. Only when Jack the Bulldog is released from his Jesuit captors will there be true diversity on that campus.

    No bulldog ought to be subjected to slipping around on marble floors while sequestered in the monkish obscurity of Wolfington Hall.

    Release Jack!

  8. You idiot- Jack the Bulldog lives in new south.

  9. Actually, Jack stays in the Jes Res does hang out in the Jes Res for most of the daytime. He has a pretty nice setup in the corner of the lobby with a dog house, pillows, toys, food,etc.

    That comment had absolutely nothing to do with religious diversity on campus.

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