Reaffirming CUA’s Mission at 125 Years
Robert Shine and Ryan Fecteau, Class of 2012 and 2014
April 26, 2012
Filed under Quill
For a week now, the campus community has spent time reflecting on the storied history of this University’s first 125 years.
We are reminded of the great figures, clergy and lay alike, who have studied, taught, and visited. Faculty have challenged the world from this campus by encouraging students to create a just, peaceful society and graduates have gone forth, strengthened with the intersection of reason and faith, to engage the modern world while maintaining a Catholic identity.
We are reminded of the great moments, the high points where Catholic University stood at the forefront of pursuing intellectual Truth and a social justice motivated by faith – not least of which would be the accomplishment of over 350,000 service hours this past year.
We are also reminded of the moments where the University failed in living out its identity as a Catholic institution of American higher education. Suppression of academic freedom and student dissent, disregard for the undergraduate students as legitimate interests, and a present refusal to represent the rich universality of the Catholic Church in its myriad expressions of faith are instantiated throughout the 125 years.
Yet, in many instances, moments of weakness galvanized renewal amongst the students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni to make The Catholic University of America better. On this 125th anniversary, we are presented with a moment of failure and faced with a choice about our response.
At present, this campus does not present a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment for LGBTQ students and their allies. There is hostility de jure in the policies (or lack thereof) of the University and de facto in the opinions and actions of many at this University concerning gay and lesbian community members.
Now, members are seeking to change that in the finest of the Catholic tradition that celebrates dignity and justice. CUAllies, the unofficial LGBTQ/Ally student organization, has a proposal for official recognition in the Office of Campus Activities that has gone unanswered for months now.
We must look forward as a University to the type of community we wish to establish for the future. In the tradition of Jesus’ table ministry, we must invite all members of The Catholic University of America community who wish to join the conversation and respond effectively.
To quote a submission CUAllies received from a student on campus: “Love, simply love; above all else, love. That is what Christ instructed us to do…I cannot consciously tell someone that they have no place in the Church and have nothing to contribute to the community. If CUAllies were to be rejected as an organization, the University would essentially be doing just that. They would refuse to recognize a group of persons, with inherent dignity, to formally assemble as an organization and therefore effectively conclude that these people have nothing to contribute to the CUA community as an organization.”
Reading the signs of our times, cognizant of the historical moment in which we participate in the University’s life, we now echo the voices of hundreds in calling for the recognition of CUAllies, by the administration.
If we are to go forward in improving CUA, we must ensure that the community represents and values each person, according to his or her divinely granted dignity.
This is our moment, as students, as faculty and staff, as administrators, as prospective students and as alumni, to truly further the Catholic identity of this University. This is our moment to reform CUA and renew it in responding to Jesus’ call for unconditional love and the creation of a community where all are welcomed without hesitation.
Join CUAllies in coming together next Monday night at 8 p.m. outside Gibbons Hall for a candlelight prayer vigil and procession to ensure that The Catholic University of America will be a safe, welcoming, and affirming community when future generations look back 125 years from now.
More information about CUAllies can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or by emailing CUAllies@gmail.com.