Last week, Georgetown announced the commencement speakers for 2012 graduates. The reaction varied from mostly bored to really angry. The Catholic community continues to boil over Sebelius, but our fellow D.C. schools aren’t as lucky to be handed a controversy.
Last year, Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke at Catholic University, which received criticism from the Catholic community on the grounds that Boehner fails to uphold Catholic teachings. This year, Catholic University gets off the hook by inviting an archbishop, but Georgetown is really in the doghouse. Regardless, the real winners are Howard University’s graduates because they get to stare into John Legend’s dreamy eyes.
More speakers from D.C. Universities after the jump:
Back in June, Catholic University President John Garvey announced via an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that, starting in the Fall 2011 semester, CU students would be living in same-sex dorms. He cited a few statistics about alcohol use and sex in coed versus single-gender dorms, and reached the conclusion that keeping boys and girls in separate residences will save our good, clean American youth from turning into a bunch of depressed, binge-drinking nymphomaniacs.
That law is the Human Rights Act, passed in 1977, which states that it is illegal for an institution to restrict or deny any service based on sex, in the same way that such is illegal based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. Last week, George Washington Law professor John Banzhat, who has somewhat made a career out of Human Rights Act cases, sent an intent-to-sue notice to President Garvey, citing that the new rule violates this law. The law allows for exceptions in the case where following it would prevent business from operating, but Banzhat says that, since the school has operated for decades with coed residence halls.
Despite being a Jesuit institution, Georgetown has long been angering conservative Catholic groups for the way we let our students engage in repulsive, amoral activity. And this week, we get an even further downgrade on the scale of Good Christiandom, as one of our fellow D.C. universities introduces a new law to prevent immorality among its students.
On Monday, June 13, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed piece written by John Garvey, president of our neighboring Catholic University, entitled “Why We’re Going Back to Single-Sex Dorms.” The subhead, which sounds vaguely like the title of a satirical Onion article, reads that “student housing has become a hotbed of drinking and hooking up.”
Hotbed? Is that supposed to be a double entendre?
And if you make it past the comical subheadline, the rest of the article isn’t much better. Garvey outright blames the use of coed dorms for the rampant binge drinking and sexual indiscretion that occur at universities across the country. Wielding various uncited, carefully chosen statistics about the percentage of students who live in coed dorms and participate in such debauchery versus those who live in single-sex residences, Garvey concludes that all students would be safer, healthier, and act like good moral Christians if they didn’t have the opposite sex corrupting them in their residence halls.
Yesterday, the National Catholic Reporterpublished an open letter signed by academics at several U.S. Catholic colleges that chastises cuts to social services proposed by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner as out of line with Catholic social teaching.
The letter, which comes as Boehner is due to give the commencement address at the Catholic University of America on Saturday, carries the signature of Georgetown’s own Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Library.
“His budget proposals give tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting programs that help the most venerable vulnerable,” Reese said. “While I recognize the necessity of reducing our deficits in the long-term, this should not be done on the backs of the poor. All Americans must sacrifice.”
Stephen Schneck, director for the Institute of Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University, led the effort to draft the message to Boehner and reached out to Reese to as a friend and colleague at Georgetown. However, Reese did not ask other University faculty to sign on so as not the give the impression that the effort was an attack on Catholic University’s academic freedom.
The letter calls for a “circle of protection” around programs such as Women Infants and Children, food stamps, and Medicaid, which face cumulatively face over $1 trillion in cuts. Meanwhile, the signatories slam Boehner for tax cuts that will cost over $3 trillion in lost revenue over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter reads. “From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor.”
Last week, Georgetown announced the commencement speakers for the 2011 graduates of its various programs, with reactions falling across the spectrum from happy to tepid to irate. For those of you looking to procrastinate on finals studying for a few more minutes, feel free to take a glance at who will be speaking to seniors at some other DC colleges.
As we previously mentioned in December, George Washington University’s slate of graduation speakers will be headlined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will address the whole of the graduating class. Other speakers will include NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, former Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Operation Smile co-founder Dr. William Magee.
After the jump, see more speakers at DC universities.
The Cardinal Newman Society, an organization dedicated to maintaining the religious character of the nation’s Catholic universities, will wrap up its Lenten Prayer Campaign for the Renewal of Catholic Colleges on Sunday.
This week’s City Paper cover story focuses on our coreligionists at Catholic University and the implications of an alleged sexual assault for their extraordinarily doctrinaire sex policy. The ending focuses on an extremely disturbing case of alleged rape, but the bulk of the piece is spent detailing what exactly a sexual conduct policy for a more pious Catholic college looks like:
Sex is technically punishable by probation or even expulsion (although, during the 2006-7 school year, the only year statistics are available, there was not a single incident of sexual misconduct on the books).
Not only are contraceptives banned on campus (obvs), students are encouraged to go to events like a talk on “Natural Family Planning” which involved “[t]his husband-and-wife team [coming] to my dorm lobby and [telling] us all how to avoid pregnancy naturally—by going in and measuring your mucus levels.”
Masturbation is not allowed, either (although, shockingly, they’ve had a tough time enforcing that).
Sexual assault is included in the same category of violation as consensual premarital sex, masturbation, and the use of contraceptives.
Next time you complain about having to schlep out to CVS for condoms, keep in mind it could be so, so much worse.
CUA Tower Blogs reports that unidentified perpetrators have destroyed, stolen, and tossed thousands of editions of its newspaper, The Tower. The comic shown above, which appeared in The Tower in response to an ongoing campus discussion about gay rights and the Catholic church, was taped to the door of The Tower‘s office, before which an unknown also suspect placed several shredded newspapers.
“University administrations, have only offered consolation, saying there is not much they can do, other than it might be a violation in the student code of the University. Our Department of Public Safety has been of little help. They have disregarded our requests to see the video tapes and have said that the investigation will take a long time and not to expect any answers. Our staff has conducted our own investigation and has been able to determine who the culprit(s) may have been, but without seeing the tapes, we can not pursue anything.”
Washinton City Paper faced this same problem when its publisher caught a vendor wrapping fruit with its issues.
Yesterday, The Towerrecalled the norovirus outbreak that hit CUA in 2006:
“An investigation by the DOH followed the outbreak in 2006. They found several food-related violations, including the presence of fruit flies and unclean equipment. The University has since done a campus-wide cleaning and installed hand sanitizers in the Pryzbyla Center.”
That’s more than they ever found at Georgetown. As for the hand sanitizers in the Pryzbyla Center, there’s no indication of what type of sanitizer they’re filled with, but as we all learned over Christmas break, what Georgetown gave out didn’t do squat.
You might remember norovirus from when it plagued and plagued and plagued Georgetown University back in early October. Well it’s back, this time striking 23 of our student neighbors to the Northeast, Catholic University.