Tuesday, November 06, 2007

University Ministry J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Teach In: Encouraging Students Not to Think

As we type this, a debate is going on (elsewhere in the Alumni Memorial Union) where advocates on both sides of the debate on universal government health care engage each other.

The event is sponsored by the College Democrats and College Republicans.

Three weeks ago, the conservative Federalist Society at the Law School had a debate on gun control. They expended considerable effort in getting capable advocates on both sides.

But such programs are rare on the Marquette campus.

More common are propagandistic programs run by the Office of Student Development, the University Ministry, Manresa, the Office of Mission and Identity and Marquette University Student government.

On their programs, both sides of controversial issues are never heard.

The orientation is “activist,” meaning the world is chocked full of injustice, and the task of education is to mobilize students to go out and fight that injustice.

How is this a problem? Because the definition of “injustice” is a partisan left definition, and the students are discouraged from ever questioning whether the standard leftist solutions are the correct ones.

Exhibit One, the JUSTICE Teach-In held on campus just last month.

The program for the event shows no concern whatsoever with the notion that there are different, competing ideas about what “social justice” consists of, and different ideas about how to achieve it (even if we could agree on what it is).

Some of the program consisted of pretty bland stuff like an after school program to teach African dance and drumming to students on Milwaukee’s South Side. Then there was something called Capoeria, defined as “a Brazilian fight-dance, game, and martial art created by enslaved Africans during the 17th Century.” We suppose the fact that black slaves created it makes it politically correct. But how it relates to any serious “social justice” issue remains a mystery.

Some of the sessions were rather silly, for example three different presenters talking about Fair Trade coffee! But saying that the subject is “silly,” unfortunately, understates the case. The trendy leftist obsession with “fair trade” comes at the expense of pushing for free trade -- which is something that promises to have vastly more impact in improving the lot of the world’s poor.

But the “fair trade” crowd doesn’t much like free trade. The problem is: it’s capitalism. It’s not under the control of bureaucrats -- and they most certainly identify with bureaucrats. And it doesn’t make them feel self-satisfied.

More controversial, and more suspect, are groups like Voces de La Frontera, a group that promotes violating the nation’s immigration laws. You absolutely won’t hear, at any event sponsored by the campus leftists, the view that immigration laws should be enforced, or that this nation needs to control its borders.

But most odd, at a university that claims to be Catholic, is the full-blown promotion of homosexuality, and even a transgender and transsexual agenda.

Quoting the description of two of the groups presenting:

GSA (Gay Straight Alliance)- The purpose of this organization is to provide awareness, education and support for people that are lesbian, gay, straight or bisexual. They offer the support of a community that works for justice in issues that are in regard to one’s sexual orientation and study the effects of that on the Marquette community.
And then there is this:

Project Q “What is Transgender and Transexual?” Project Q is the youth program of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. Project Q offers three main services to LGBTQ youth. They build a supportive community for the youth, provide them education on essential topics. The center offers a lounge area with computers, TV, DVD/video players, and a library for the students that participate in drop-in activities. They also provide support services where they can receive valuable information from programming staff and peers. The third service is a skills building program which empowers youth for the future. Project Q believes in the ability of youth to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become healthy educated adults.
The view that homosexual acts are sinful (which is, after all, the Catholic view) is something that will never be presented at any program mounted by the campus leftists.

What else is never dealt with? Abortion. That’s right. None of the programs staged by the leftist axis on campus has, for at least the past several years, dealt with the issue.

We can only conclude that the bureaucrats in places like the University Ministry and the Office of Student Development (and their pet students) think that abortion should be legal. But actually having pro-abortion speakers would be a “bridge too far.” So they evade the issue.

Last April: MUSG Diversity Conference

The fall Teach-In was pretty much a clone of the MUSG Diversity Conference last spring.

The usual obsession with “fair trade” was much in evidence there, as was the usual politically correct tripe about race, gender and sexual orientation.

The gay lobby, in the form of the Gay/Straight Alliance was there, and so was Voces de la Frontera.

But one example of the sort of presentation that is designed to dull the critical faculties was a session titled “Hurricane Katrina: A Man-Made Disaster.” According to the description:
In the aftermath of Katrina it is hard to ignore how certain populations have been demonized, victimized, and ignored in the recovery process. A look at the lower 9th ward, a primarily black, home-owning community, shows many of the injustices experienced in New Orleans. New Orleans can serve as the shining example of what not to do. They have allowed the rich, elite class, which is primarily white, to take over the city.
Given that New Orleans had a black mayor (who was, strangely reelected in the wake of the fiasco) it’s difficult to know what she is talking about. But we suppose, for this kind of activist mentality, all things come together (even hurricanes) to oppress blacks and empower the evil white male elite.

A University ought to, first and foremost, teach students to use their critical faculties.

How this is done is no mystery. One critically examines arguments. One listens to people with different positions. One asks whether the conclusions follow from the premises -- and this after actually trying to determine whether the premises are true.

But on a politically correct campus, all of this is discouraged. Of course the University bureaucrats who mount these programs would say they are encouraging students to engage in “critical thinking.” But they stifle critical thinking about the politically correct orthodoxy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter attends a small private school in Waukesha, when it comes tim for college there is a snowballs chance in hell she'll be going to Marquette. They have completely lost their way.

I can tell already that "liberation theology" has overtaken them like a cancer.

I went to Marquette and will no longer have anything to do with them.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...


I hate to post this on the blog of a professor at Marquette, especially I revere dearly, but you should send your daughter to Madison.

I never filled out the application for Madison because I figured it would be a liberal nightmare. I never imagined paying 5-6 times the cost of a Madison education for the same socialist drivel.

11:42 PM  

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