Catholic University Students Slam Porn, Then Lefty Faculty

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Progressives think every inch of ground gained will never be relinquished. This is why clawing anything back is harder and bloodier than having lost it in the first place. The administrators of Catholic University of America are discovering just how hard it is to walk back the revolution that started in the 1960s. But they have found an unlikely ally: the students!

During the hideous, awful, and disgusting 1960s, it always seemed to be the students pitted against the administration. Unsympathetic faculty were quite likely opposed only to tactics: standing up to the man, yes, taking over his office, maybe not, and certainly no vandalism.

On college campuses today, it is radical students who are in lockstep with both faculty and administration. Throw detergent on a conservative speaker and likely as not the faculty will cheer, and the diversity whack jobs in the administration will only tut-tut.

Something different and quite refreshing is happening at Catholic University of America. Students are standing with the administration against some faculty who have a nostalgic whiff of ’68 in their nostrils.

 

The backstory is that after decades of the sexual and Land O’ Lakes revolutions, the administration is keen to turn Catholic University back into a Catholic university, and the ’68ers on the faculty, or at least their ideological spawn, are standing athwart history yelling stop. Ideological ground can never be relinquished.

You may have heard that the student government voted to ban 200 top porn sites from the University Wi-Fi. Sadly, it passed by only one vote. And the quotes of student leaders afterwards lacked the sting and pop this old culture warrior would have liked. Even so, it was a great and most welcome move.

What has not been reported is that these exact same students took another vote in early March that may be even more satisfying than the anti-porn vote. They stuck it right to the faculty ’68ers. In fact, they told them to pipe down. The students voted to condemn an ad hoc group of huffy-puffy professors who seem intent on stopping the restoration of the Catholic identity of the university.

The faculty busybodies formed themselves into an assembly a year ago to complain about the then-proposed Academic Renewal of CUA. Ostensibly about budget cutting, they saw the Academic Renewal plan as part of ongoing efforts to turn Catholic University, well, Catholic. Professors at Catholic universities have long been embarrassed by Catholicism and have been eager to jettison Catholicism in order to gain the approval of their secular betters. Just look at what has happened to places like Marquette and Georgetown.

This battle came also to CUA going back to the hateful 1960s. The most famous of the CUA dissidents was Charles Curran who led opposition to Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical upholding Catholic teaching on artificial contraception.

That Curran was eventually booted did not stop the revolution. What at least paused the revolution was the hiring of CUA president David O’Connell, appointed in 1998, who proceeded to disinvite heterodox celebrity speakers, confiscate student newspapers, and—according to the Washington Post—prohibit student sex! O’Connell even denied efforts of homosexuals to organize on campus.

John Garvey took over in 2010 and promptly ended co-ed dorms. He even spoke out in favor of chastity as opposed to “consent” as the guiding sexual consideration on campus.

Garvey hired business school founder Andrew Abela as Provost and together they have made it plain they intend to hire faculty who are faithfully engaged in the Catholic project of higher education. This university is going to be Catholic, unashamedly Catholic. Land O’ Lakes be damned.

The “faculty assembly” campaigned against the proposed Academic Renewal. They took votes, started websites, complained to the press, told fibs all along, and presented themselves as some kind of official voice of the CUA faculty, which they weren’t. There is an Academic Senate for that.

The “faculty assembly” lost their campaign to stop the Academic Renewal plan. The Academic Senate approved the plan (and it wasn’t close), as did the university Board of Trustees, but not before all kinds of wild charges were made about University administration. Professor Julia Young wrote at Commonweal: “No one—not even senior tenured faculty—wants to speak out, for they risk being fired and being accused of insufficient support for the university’s mission.” An anonymous faculty member told Religion News Service: “Increasingly, hires are inspected by the provost department to see not only whether the person who is proposed to be hired is Catholic, but whether that person is a conservative Catholic.”

The “faculty assembly” did not roll up their tents and move along. Instead, they moved on to the cause of a faculty member who was found to be canoodling with a woman who worked for him, even though he was married. Said canoodling violated university rules and the tenured professor was fired. The “faculty assembly” said this was public shaming by the administration and tsk-tsk-tsk.

The student government jumped then in with their own smackdown not of the administration but against the dissident faculty. The student resolution states that the “faculty assembly” is not an official body, it’s not sanctioned by the university, and it lacks authority to “enact or resolve measures.”

The students say the body has “on multiple occasions directly implied or insinuated that the University administration, including but not limited to the President and the Provost, have engaged in … suppression of thought, suppression of academic freedom, and intimidation.”

They say this group of faculty has fomented “distrust and misunderstanding between the student body and the University administration…” and has advertised itself as “an official University-sanctioned organization.”

The students direct the “faculty assembly” to suspend their “misinformation, malalignment, incorrect implication, and circumvention of the University’s governance model.” That’s not all. They go on: “Refrain from publishing opinions, letters, agendas, and any other publications if they are accompanied by the University seal or logo.”

It is unlikely the “faculty assembly” will go away any time soon. But the good news is neither will these brave students.

Vive la contre-révolution!

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. He is the author of Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data published by Regnery and Little Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ published by Tan Books. The views expressed here are solely his own.

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