Catholic college refuses academic credit for student’s internship at Planned Parenthood
November 13, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) -- While some Catholic colleges suggest Planned Parenthood for internships and job opportunities, officials at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., denied academic credit to a student who secured a public affairs internship with a local Planned Parenthood, citing respect for the “basic tenets and beliefs of the Catholic Church” and the organization’s continued advocacy for the “murder” of living persons.
“One of [the Catholic Church's] most fundamental convictions is that abortion is sin and is murder of a living person,” said Karen Talentino, vice president of academic affairs at Saint Michael’s, “so given that we are a Catholic college, I think it makes sense that we would not form a formal relationship with an organization that not only performs abortions but is an advocate for continuing to perform abortions.”
The student, Erin Irons, a political science major and senior at the College, admits that a Planned Parenthood employee cautioned her that a previous student at Saint Michael’s was denied academic credit for the same internship, but Irons believed her situation would be different, saying, “The times have changed: it’s been four years since the last internship was denied.”
But in those four years, the Church’s teachings on abortion and contraception have not changed.
Talentino asserted the issue at hand is “really about the respect that the Catholic college has to show to basic tenets and beliefs of the Catholic Church, especially right now, when Planned Parenthood had been so politicized.”
Irons said that the internship at the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which advertises that it commits abortions and offers contraceptives, would have prepared her for the “real world.” She eventually turned down the internship because she was denied academic credit.
“I understand that [Saint Michael's is] a Catholic institution … But it’s also an educational institution,” said Irons, who admitted to being raised Catholic but has since left the faith. Irons is pressuring Saint Michael’s to change their internship policies and provide a more thorough explanation as to why her request for academic credit was denied.
Talentino argued that while students at Saint Michel’s should consider the potential learning experience when seeking internships, “they should also think about is there any reason why this might not be a good choice.” She noted that the College has staff to help students seek and obtain internships, and determine which organizations would be beneficial to students.
Saint Michael’s distances itself from Planned Parenthood, but internship and career resources at several other Catholic colleges actually encourage students to apply with the abortion giant.
In a special report published in August 2015, The Cardinal Newman Society identified 63 new connections between 27 Catholic colleges and Planned Parenthood based on searches of the colleges’ websites, an update from a 2011 study that first reported 150 such connections. Of the 63 connections identified in August, at least 14 were changed or removed permanently from the colleges’ respective websites as of September 10.
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Boston College, DePaul University, Seattle University, Stonehill College, University of Dayton, University of San Diego and Mount Saint Mary’s University in Calif., were all originally reported to have internship or job referral links to Planned Parenthood. DePaul University, Stonehill College, University of Dayton and University of San Diego subsequently removed those links.
Planned Parenthood League of Greater Boston is listed among the suggested sociology internships provided by Boston College professor John B. Williamson. A note to the listing says, “The last intern there was responsible for finding and distributing articles related to reproductive rights issues.” The list was last updated on July 29, 2015.
Boston College also continues to highlight the employment of a graduate who majored in linguistics and went on to become “Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.”
Mount Saint Mary’s University in Calif., lists Planned Parenthood as one of the places their history majors have been accepted for internships.
Seattle University continues to cite Planned Parenthood in scenario to help students prepare for job interviews.
In its report, the Newman Society urges Catholic colleges and universities to take a “no-tolerance position” on relationships with Planned Parenthood, including disqualifying candidates for teaching positions.
“There are matters of Catholic identity which require discernment and which may not point to simple solutions,” the report stated. “There is no such nuance here — Planned Parenthood is a serious danger to the health, lives and souls of innocent students. There is no place for Planned Parenthood on a Catholic campus.”
Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society.