There have been a number of complaints about Catholic colleges and universities straying from Catholic doctrine, most notably from our sister organization Accuracy in Academia and now one institution is taking steps to rectify the problem.
Boston College recently amended the speaker policy in the Office of the Dean for Student Development’s Student Guide to make it clear that the school has the power to balance or cancel speakers it feels are not “sensitive to and respectful of the Catholic heritage of the institution.” according to a report in the campus paper The Heights.
The section now reads as follows;
Boston College is a private institution founded to further the goals embodied in the Jesuit tradition of higher education. An essential element in the Jesuit tradition is an emphasis on the search for truth in an academic community. Since the search for truth demands freedom of inquiry, the free exchange of ideas is a principal value of the University. Such freedom of inquiry is, however, not absolute and must be balanced by the University’s obligation to adhere to the principals and values inherent in Boston College’s identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.
To maintain an environment in which such freedoms can thrive, while at the same time being sensitive to and respectful of the Catholic heritage of the institution, the University administration reserves the right to review presentations funded by student activity monies. Such a review could result in necessary adjustments to require that balanced views be presented, postponement of the program for further discussion and review, or, in rare instances, cancellation of the program. In addition, in cases where the University may not be able to assure the adequate safety of either the University community or an invited speaker, Boston College reserves the right to reschedule or relocate the presentation or, in rare instances, to cancel the event.
One student who was concerned about the policy change is John Hellman, vice president of the GLBT Leadership Council who told The Heights that now “We have to present both sides and go do the extra work to present both views,” and that “Other groups on campus have the luxury to just go about planning their events.” Now isn’t that too bad that he feels his group will have to work harder to provide balance. It’s more like he doesn’t want balance because then that will destroy his groups arguments on homosexuality.
Sociology Professor Charles Derber thought it would have a “chilling effect.” Yes this policy is very scary, to liberals!
Boston College should be commended for taking this step to balancing speaker viewpoints on campus and to remind students that while they are tolerant of differing points of view that it is a Catholic school after all and should be teaching Catholic values and principles.
Now if we could only get others to follow and expand this policy to the classroom.