It is the academic version of Alice in Wonderland, The Twilight Zone, and That’s Incredible.
This past September, Washington State’s Jesuit university, Gonzaga, banned a student organization because it discriminates against non-Catholics. The Student Bar Association (SBA) at Gonzaga’s School of Law’s refused to recognize the Gonzaga Pro-Life Law Caucus (GPLLC) as a student organization because of the requirement of the Pro-Life Caucus that its leadership be Christian. According to the SBA minutes for September 23, 2003— which were obtained by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization for campus free speech representing the GPLLC—
SBA President Albert Guadagno and others complained that the group’s Christian leadership requirement was “discriminatory.”
“We live in a strange age, indeed, when a Catholic, Jesuit university would deny a Christian pro-life group recognition because its religious nature is considered ‘discriminatory,’” said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE. “It is sad enough when secular institutions do not recognize the value of religious freedom. Gonzaga University, a Catholic institution, owes its very existence to America’s commitments to religious liberty and voluntary association.”
When Ashley Horne, one of the club’s founders, applied for recognition by the SBA, she was concerned that her group would not be permitted on campus because of its religious requirement. Horne subsequently contacted Gonzaga law professor David DeWolf to ask for his opinion about the Pro-Life Caucus constitution. She wanted to know if the religious requirement for leadership of the group was in accordance with Gonzaga policy.
DeWolf consulted with Law School Dean Daniel Morrissey, who in turn consulted with University Counsel Mike Casey. Both Morrissey and Casey believed that the GPLLC’s religious requirement comported with university policy.
However, Guadagno met with the SBA’s executive board – a meeting that Caucus representatives were not permitted to attend. After that meeting, Guadagno notified Horne and several other students that the board had ruled that the Caucus’s leadership requirement violated Gonzaga University’s and Gonzaga Law School’s mission statements. He informed them that the full SBA would not vote on the matter.
The Caucus continued to seek recognition, clarifying its essential Christian identity and mission. Guadagno refused to consider the Caucus’s revised application.
Gonzaga is not the only university that does not sanction student anti-abortion organizations. Indeed, there is a trend among academic institutions to prohibit such groups. As is usually the case when liberals want to censor something, they say the groups are discriminatory.
Nor is Gonzaga the only Catholic college to censor pro-life students. One Boston College student noted that “many faculty members seem scared to say anything against [abortion]. . . We have a hard time finding faculty advisors; everyone says that they are too busy to help us out.”
There is no question that most academicians are liberal acolytes. There is no question that this is true even among so-called religious institutions. Jesuit colleges are well known for their liberation theology, putting them at cross-purposes with the Pope himself. They propagate every liberal cause there is. Professing Marxism, censoring anti-abortion groups, and protesting the School of the Americas are just some of the causes presented by Jesuit universities as enlightened attitudes.
These colleges are not the venue for a critical examination of issues – especially about abortion. Feminazism and similar liberal dogmas are rampant on these campuses. These colleges are not concerned with educating students; they are concerned with indoctrinating them. This is why parents and others who finance the tuition at these colleges must be made aware of what is occurring and must persuade these institutions that they exist to educate, not indoctrinate, and that the First Amendment does not stop at the campus gate.
A Philadelphia police force veteran, Mr. Tremoglie recently served as vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of Scholars.