Good heavens, now the debate swicthes to the University of Notre Dame over whether it should allow a presentation of "The Vagina Monolgues." But really, what is the problem?
It's a discussion more Catholic universities are having as "The Vagina Monologues" becomes a seemingly unsolvable dilemma for the schools. Allow the performance and they are criticized for going against church teachings. Ban the play and they're accused of stifling academic freedom.
A seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Hardly. It's a decision that should be easy to make because one would expect that Notre Dame - a Catholic institution - would already have guidelines as to what is allowable, and what is not, on campus.
When you put Catholic university in your title and your Web site looks like the 'Bells of St. Mary's,' you set up an image that students expect," said Malcolm A. Kline, executive director of Accuracy in Academia, a nonprofit watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. "What I get from parents and students is, 'I thought I was going to a Catholic school and they're showing the 'V Monologues.'"
Exactly - what the students expect. If a student expects an environment that fosters the Catholic faith, then there is already an expectation that it will not support the presentation of the play.
This isn't to say that the play cannot be discussed in a proper setting, such as an literature class. This isn't to say that the school can't sponsor a field trip to see the play elsewhere, since being Catholic is about facing sin, not ignoring it. It is about the school - a private institution - deciding what it will accept and what it will allow the use of its resources on. And in making that clear, then a prospective student know what to expect.
The woman, Kerry Walsh, who wanted to present the play, said:
"They do have a responsibility to follow the values of the morality of Catholicism," she said. "That is incredibly important."
At the same time, she said, Catholic schools are still "100 percent a university. And a university is meant to be a place of learning, a place of ideas, a place where you can say what you want and learn from what others say and what others think."
What Ms. Walsh fails to realize is that a university need not adopt an "anything goes" attitude to be a "place of ideas." Just as a scientist would study viral strains in a controlled environment, so too can a university that wishes to remain within the tenets of the Catholic faith to protect such and foster it amojng its students opt to forgoe showing "The Vagina Monologues" but still allow discussion of a woman's sexuality - perhaps even with an eye towards having its students learn about it within a faith-based setting first so that they have a foundation if they choose to see the play at a later time.
Does BYU get this much flack?