Politicization is nothing new on American college campuses, but the experience of one student at Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit postsecondary institution, indicates just how pervasive political correctness is these days—and why protecting free speech is so important.
A few weeks ago Marquette philosophy professor and graduate student Cheryl Abbate announced to her “Theory of Ethics” class that there is no need to discuss the issue of gay marriage since “everybody agrees on” it. That is, everyone is in favor of it.
Perhaps Abbate should have looked at her own institution’s religious affiliation, since in the Catholic faith marriage is between one man and one woman. Period. As Matt Lamb of The College Fix reports, a student in the class who’s asked not to be identified:
…raised the issue with Abbate after class and questioned her apparent dismissal of one set of views, which could make some students feel like they cannot share their opinion.
The student said he told Abbate he disagrees with gay marriage. Abbate suggested that gay students could be offended if he shared his view, and told him that he did not have the right to make “homophobic comments or racist comments” in class.
The student said he consulted with a trusted university employee, who suggested he reach out to Susanne Foster, the associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and a philosophy professor.
Foster referred the student to Nancy Snow, the department chair, the student said.
In their meeting, Snow pressured the student to divulge which university employee advised him, he said; wanting to protect the employee from retribution, the student declined to tell Snow, saying it did not have anything to do with the class dispute. Snow then opened the door and yelled at him to leave her office.
Now that the matter is going public, university officials are scrambling for legal cover.
Townhall.com’s Todd Starnes wrote in a subsequent report that the student in question did not behave respectfully toward Abbate during his meeting with her, which he later admitted tape recording. However, as Starnes continues:
Nevertheless, the student’s behavior does not excuse Marquette University’s successful attempt to silence the free exchange of ideas.
So let’s review — an instructor at a Catholic university taught material that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and when a Catholic student brought this information to the attention of Catholic administrators – the student was the one who got rebuked.
I’m not a Catholic – but it seems to me Marquette University is one of those CINO schools – Catholic in Name Only.
To be sure, faith-based intuitions have a tough enough time as it is complying with government mandates and staying true to their religious teachings.
But whether you’re Catholic or not, leaders of faith-based institutions should be among the first lines of defense in ensuring that those hired as instructors, professors, and administrators respect the teachings of the institutions’ respective faiths.
If not, individuals should withhold donations, alumni contributions, and refuse to consider supporting their own children’s attendance at intuitions that don’t practice what they preach.
Civil disagreement is one thing, but there’s nothing civil about silencing students.