Category Archives: Catholic University

Catholic University LGBTQ Student Group, CUAllies, Continues Fight For Official Recognition

I recently found out about a group, CUAllies, made up of Catholic University of America (CUA) students and supporters, who are working to make university life at CUA more welcoming for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) students. We recently caught up with Bob Shine, a 2012 alum from CUA, who is handling media relations for CUAllies, and asked him the following questions.

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Tell me a little bit about your organization and your purpose.

CUAllies is an unrecognized student organization aimed at fostering a safe, welcoming, and affirming campus at The Catholic University of America, particularly for those students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.

Working within the particular Catholic nature of the University, CUAllies affirms the harmony of spirituality and sexuality as each person is created in the image of God regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

CUAllies sustains a marginalized community of LGBTQ students and allies through peer support and on-campus programming. Previous events have included speakers, service projects, prayer vigils, and weekly support meetings.

CUA administrators recently declined to recognize CUAllies as a student organization. Because of this, what rights and privileges is CUAllies denied that other groups have?

 A successful CUAllies application in 2012 to become a student organization would have meant that leaders could reserve campus rooms for events, access student activities staff and funding, post announcements around campus. Presently, students are required to find empty rooms impromptu and struggle to promote events, while paying out of pocket.

Yet, the real right CUAllies is denied is a recognized place in the Catholic University community. Continued denial by the administration states, in effect, that LGBTQ students and their allies cannot positively contribute to the campus well-being, or at least contribute as who God create each of us to be. This message is spreading to the student body and it is in direct contradiction to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ request that all those with a homosexual orientation be welcomed into the community.

From what I understand, CUA administrators fear CUAllies will engage in LGBTQ “advocacy” if recognized. What does that mean, and is advocacy part of your activities?

In President Garvey’s denial based upon these fallacious “advocacy” claims, he demonstrated an unwillingness to truly listen to and respect all students at CUA. Nearly a year of dialogue on the present application with countless meetings and written exchanges was disregarded for the very reason of advocacy given as early as 2012.

In the ten months leading up to this December, CUAllies endeavored towards a compromise with supportive staff helping us navigate. We envisioned a student organization that openly addressed the administration’s advocacy concerns, while remaining true to the peer support mission we believed deeply in.

CUAllies has not engaged in advocacy of the “homosexual lifestyle” as the University so crassly described it. In accordance with the Catholic Church’s understanding that sexual orientation is morally neutral, we have only advocated on campus for the promotion of students’ safety and flourishing, without engaging any broader cultural issues surrounding the LGBTQ community.

What would you say to people who question why LGBTQ students would attend, or ask acceptance from, a University whose bedrock is a religion that by and large is opposed to the full expression of gay and lesbian lives and gay rights?

Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church most truly defined as the People of God, all of us, is not opposed to supporting the LGBTQ community. I currently minster at an LGBT-positive Catholic organization and daily witness Catholics affirming every person’s dignity, foundational teachings on social justice and non-discrimination, and living out the love stemming from Christ in and amongst every one of us.

LGBTQ students at Catholic University inspire me by their sacrificial love in service of others and their integration of faith and sexuality. The University’s persistent denial that these students offer anything falls gravely short of Christ’s witness of abundant love of all doctrine.

In short, LGBTQ students attend Catholic University because they empower the school and Catholic Church with far more love than University administrators or bishops have ever shown them. Every student attends CUA for personal reasons, but all acknowledge the true Catholic identity of the University, which is love, dignity, and justice that the present administration has strayed far from.

Tell me a little bit about the CUAllies petition.  Can anyone, even those of us not affiliated with CUA sign it? (Note: Petition link below)

Shortly after President John Garvey’s denial of CUAllies, student leaders began the petition with twofold purpose. LGBTQ students, allies, and those deeply invested in CUAllies were deeply rejected. All signs, like the months-long dialogue with administrators and a decision the day before at the University of Notre Dame to positively address LGBTQ issues, had us hopeful that Catholic University would step forward. The petition foremost became an expression by fellow students, alumni, family members, faculty and staff, local community members, Catholics, and those worldwide that you are loved and welcomed in our hearts. All are welcome to sign! Second, we aimed to show the administration that people understood CUAllies as peer support and not advocacy – and should be supported at a Catholic campus. Over 700 signatures so far gives us hope to keep struggling and, perhaps, caused President Garvey to rethink his decision.

Aside from the petition, how can those who want to support LGBTQ students at CUA help?

The rejection in December has caused a period of reflection among student leadership and supporters about the most positive way to proceed.  We are looking at how we can fulfill our mission to keep students safe and welcomed, even if just in our CUAllies community, in the face of an administration refusing to budge.

A campus culture of suppression, sometimes enacted personally against CUAllies leadership, has created a fear-based atmosphere, amplified so greatly by this rejection.

As we rebuild, supporters can aid in three ways. First, connect with us – on Facebook, Twitter, our mailing list and other social media – to get updates when we launch our next steps. Second, consider making your voice heard as community members in Brookland, by writing to President John Garvey. Third, spread the word to your family, friends, and networks, who can then inspire students by connecting and pressure the administration.

What are the various ways our readers can keep up with your group?

CUA Allies Facebook Page

CUA Allies Twitter Feed

Email this address to join their mailing list: cuallies(at)gmail(dot)com

CUA Allies Petition is located here

All photos courtesy of CUAllies Facebook page

Catholic U Continues Its Eco-Friendly Ways With Solar Panels, Green Roofs

environmentally friendly university Brookland NE Washington DC
The green roof on Aquinas Hall. Photo courtesy of the Catholic University of America.

Did you know that our neighbor Catholic University is one of the most eco-friendly universities in the country?  Earlier this year CUA was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for using more green power than any other University in the Landmark Conference for 2011-2012. In September, the school dedicated the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system in DC. In addition to solar power, CUA purchases green power through renewable energy credits (RECs). Combined, these electricity saving measures offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at a rate equivalent to almost 4,000 average American homes every year. Recently, the school also installed its third green roof on the roof of Aquinas Hall;  the other two are on the roofs of Father O’Connell Hall and the Columbus School of Law parking garage. The benefits of the green roofs are several – they extend the life of the roof by two to three times, and the plants absorb storm water which cuts down on runoff, which in turn helps keep the Anacostia and Potomac rivers cleaner. Additional green roofs are planned for the campus in the upcoming years. Way to go Catholic U!

Eco friendly Brookland NE Washington DC
Solar panels being installed on Flather Hall. Photo courtesy of the Catholic University of America.

Catholic University Homecoming Next Weekend – Tons of Events, Something For Everyone

Catholic University Brookland NE Washington DC
CUA Homecoming 2012 Homecoming Logo Courtesy of The Catholic University of America

One of the cool things about Brookland is the CUA alumni who discovered our neighborhood while in college and decided to make it their home after graduation. Homecoming is always a special time to reconnect with your alma mater and reminisce with current students, friends, and fellow alums. This year CUA’s homecoming will be held on Friday October 26 – Sunday October 28th and there are a ton of activities in store. Check out the full schedule here.  

Here are some highlights:

2012 CUA Athletics Golf Classic – Friday October 26th at 12:30 p.m.
Located at Renditions Golf Course in Davidsonville, Md. 21035.
To register for this event click here.

“Halfway Home” Happy Hour – Start the weekend of right with fellow Cardinals. Friday October 26th from 8 – 10 p.m at Clyde’s of Gallery Place 707 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Campus Tours – I am sure that this will be of interest for many alumni. The university is going through rapid change, and this will be a good way to get up to speed. Tours will be given on Saturday October 27th at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Meet at front entrance steps, McMahon Hall.

Pre-Game Tent Party –  On Saturday October 27th enjoy a pre-game picnic with food, music, and fun for all ages, including a moonbounce and face-painting for the kiddies. A ticket to the Homecoming football game is included with each picnic ticket. The picnic is from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Homecoming tent, Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center Field.

Homecoming Football Game – Of course, the highlight of any homecoming weekend is the football game. Cheer on the CUA Cardinals as they take on the Generals of Washington and Lee College. Saturday October 27th  at 1 p.m at Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center, Cardinal Stadium.

Young Alumni Party – The young alumni party will be such good times, it needs two establishments to contain it. Starting at 8 p.m on Saturday October 27th at  My Brother’s Place (237 2nd St., Washington, D.C.) and  Kelly’s Irish Times (14 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.)

Catholic U Drama Dept. Kicks Off Its 75th Season With Deep Discounts

Catholic U Theatre Brookland NE Washington DC
Photo of Hedda Gabler Flyer. Flyer Courtesy Of CUA Drama Dept.

The 2012-13 Season at Hartke Theatre promises to be a special one -they are celebrating their 75th anniversary! Catholic University’s Department of Drama  was founded in 1937 by Father Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P. I really dug how they sent the flyer to the left out to Brookland community. In honor of the Anniversary Season, they are offering 75% off tickets for their first production of the season, Hedda Garbler. The show runs from October 9 – 14th. Just use the code “Celebrate” when ordering.  Here is a description of the show from CUADrama’s website: 

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen,translated by Michael Meyer, directed by Eleanor Holdridge. Considered scandalous in its day, Henrik Ibsen’s classic Hedda Gabler examines the life of an ambitious, talented woman trapped by obligation and societal conventions in a boring and loveless marriage. One of modern theater’s most infamous protagonists, Hedda Gabler lies, cheats, schemes and steals to escape her own boredom, heedless of the consequences to those around her, until the very bitter end.

Order your tickets to Hedda Gabler here. Here are the other shows offered this Season:

  • #crazypants – A new play by Katherine Clair. Directed by Kathleen Akerley
  • Brutus (an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) – Directed and edited by Allison Fuentes
  • Spooky Action at a Distance – A new play by Matthew Buckley Smith and Directed by Jerry Whiddon
  • Ken Ludwig’s Shakespeare in Hollywood – Winner 2004 Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play and Directed by Jay Brock

The Season will be capped off in April with two days of performances, festivities, honors and a gala reception:  

 April 26 at 8pm – Shakespeare in Hollywood
(special performance and pre-show party)

  April 27 at 7:00 pm – 75th Anniversary Event
and gala reception