Bil Browning

Free Speech: 1 - Censorship: 0 @ Notre Dame

Filed By Bil Browning | April 06, 2006 8:32 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

Notre Dame University recently became embroiled in a little bit of controversy when the new president said he thought a gay film festival and the play "The Vagina Monologues" didn't belong at a Catholic University. Amid outcry from the students and faculty, the school has decided to let the programs continue - but with a caveat...

Many who opposed the events said they went against the school's "Catholic character."

"To them, we must say, with all respect: 'This is a Catholic university,"' Jenkins said in a statement. "We are committed to a wide-open, unconstrained search for truth, and we are convinced that Catholic teaching has nothing to fear from engaging the wider culture."

But he said such events must be accompanied by Catholic teaching.

"The challenge is not to do just one of these -- or even to do both of them in parallel -- but to promote academic freedom and affirm our Catholic character in a way that integrates the two and elevates both," he said.

As a result of the debate, students who supported "The Vagina Monologues" have proposed to produce a play, describing their own experiences, titled "Loyal Daughters," he said.

Jenkins also will head a committee of students, faculty and administrators designed to foster a discussion of gender relations, sexuality and ways to prevent violence against women.

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the star article tries to portray this as a new victory, but i'm not sure that very much actually happened here. take another look at the original star article from january 24:

"Jenkins' predecessor, the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, allowed "The Vagina Monologues" and a Queer Film Festival on campus, but did not comment about them. He was criticized by Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese for allowing them.

Jenkins said he would allow "The Vagina Monologues" to be performed on campus this year, but only in a classroom setting and tickets can't be sold. He said the film festival will go on, but under a new name -- Jenkins said the Queer Film Festival "seems to celebrate homosexual activity" -- and with limited content."

and indeed, the film festival did change its name and the vagina monologues was performed in a classroom, and was prohibited from selling tickets (for charity!) this year.

the new star article (actually, they're both AP articles) doesn't mention any of this stuff, and doesn't say whether the monologues will be allowed to sell tickets or perform in an actual theatre next year. and judging from jenkins's "closing statement", i'm pretty sure they won't be allowed to do fundraising anymore:

i really want to believe that this was a victory, but it smacks of "death by a million cuts"...

Well that is good news I suppose. There has also been a bit of a stink about the president of Ireland speaking at commencement........she is pro-choice.