Jesuit University punishes campus group for dismissing homosexual officer
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, August 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Jesuit-run Marquette University has punished a Christian group for dismissing an officer after he revealed himself as a practicing homosexual.
Last Friday, Marquette Political science professor John McAdams blogged about the outrage of the Jesuit run Catholic university initially suspending its InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter. The suspension has now been changed to a probation.
McAdams indicated the suspension was imposed because of the chapter’s dismissal of “an officer who ‘came out’ of the closet as homosexual, said he was involved in a homosexual affair which he would continue”, and made it clear that he disagreed with the organization’s interpretation of Christian teaching about homosexuality.
Today, Director of University Communications Kate Venne confirmed to LifeSiteNews why the campus chapter was placed on probation.
“The probation results from a finding that the chapter violated its own policies and procedures in dealing with a complaint,” Venne said. “This failure and the lack of clear communication regarding why action was taken caused significant personal hurt and resulted in allegations of discrimination.”
She added, “Marquette expects all student organizations to adhere to the university’s Statement on Human Dignity which ‘recognizes and cherishes the dignity of each individual regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class.’”
In his Friday blog post, McAdams said that Dean of Students Stephanie Quade has reversed the initial decision to suspend the campus chapter. In addition to the current one-year probation for upholding Christian moral principles, McAdams reported that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will have to submit to a review of their constitution.
The Harvard University alumnus said that the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship mobilized a letter writing campaign in support of its actions. While Quade acknowledged receiving a large number of emails, she denied that they had a role in her decision to reverse the suspension.
McAdams credits conservative Milwaukee radio personality Mark Belling for breaking the story last Tuesday.
“It’s good that Marquette backed away from punishing a group for insisting that its officers adhere to Christian standards of sexual conduct,” McAdams told LSN. “But there is such a thing as a ‘chilling effect.’ Other student groups are likely to back away from anything that is disapproved by the gay lobby because they simply don’t want the hassle. Only a minority of students enjoy doing battle.”
Since the suspension was overturned, McAdams suggested that the consequences of the university’s decision for Catholic higher education are “perhaps not much.” “But,” he said, “had it been upheld, other ‘Catholic’ universities would have been emboldened to do the same.”
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, Marquette University made national headlines last spring when it withdrew its offer to Dr. Jodi O’Brien to be Dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. University officials explained that the candidate, an open lesbian, published sexually explicit scholarly work out of keeping with the school’s Catholic identity.
In June, Marquette University theology professor and prominent Catholic dissident Daniel Maguire criticized New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan for his “rabid” stance against same-sex “marriage” in a blog posted on the liberal online magazine Religion Dispatches.