Monday, September 16, 2013

Marquette Honors Program Will Not Sponsor FemSex

We have it from Andy Brodzeller, of the Office of Marketing and Communication: the Honors Program will not be sponsoring the FemSex Program this semester. This reverses an earlier decision of Honors to do exactly that.

Brodzeller explained that “the context from last semester” was “shared with the Honors Program,” by the Office of the Provost, and the Honors Program “decided” not to sponsor FemSex.

Was the “Honors Program” — meaning Director Amelia Zurcher — hiding in a cave last semester, such that the program didn’t know the context?

Or were they flatly ordered by the new Acting Provost, Margaret Faut Callahan, not to sponsor the program.

Last semester, the program was to be sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. After an uproar in the local media, and numerous complaints, the Administration canceled the sponsorship by that Center.

Brodzeller said that the women who wanted to mount the program had been in discussions about other ways of getting it on campus, for example, via Student Affairs. Presumably this would mean that a recognized student organization might sponsor it.


Andy Brodzeller sends the following response to this post:
I did notice you have a blog post up already, and want to clarify it was academic leadership in the college that met and shared the context from last spring with the Honors Program. – Andy

Chris Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs says:
We have received no inquires with regard to this program.
This, of course, does not mean that it won’t happen.


The University released the following statement about the decision:
As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Marquette supports the educational and intellectual exploration of issues regarding gender and sexuality. Early this week, a student-led Female Sexuality workshop was promoted on campus with sponsorship from an academic program. Following a discussion with the program about academic sponsorship, including the requirement of faculty presence, the program chose not to continue sponsoring the Female Sexuality workshop.

While it was evident that changes to the workshop outline were made since spring, additional changes were needed to align with Catholic teaching. We understand that our students engage in discussions on gender and sexuality, but when they happen as part of a university-sponsored event, we must address these topics in the context of our Catholic faith. We continue to be confident that we will find mutually respectful ways to engage in these important discussions in a way that is consistent with our mission and identity.
That is quite a good statement, so far as it goes.

The problem is that this program got as far as it did, first getting sponsorship from the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, and then (when that was pulled) from the Honors Program.

So when subject to extreme provocation, and when an attack on the Catholic nature of the University creates enough of an uproar, the Administration will come down on the side of Catholic teaching.

But it remains disturbing that several parts of the University (Honors and the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center are far from the only ones) are flatly opposed to Catholic teaching on sexuality, and will undermine that teaching when they can get away with it.

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