According to this story in Crisis Magazine, one of the most prominent is; and not a moment too soon.
A big Bravo to its leadership!
A few weeks ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education got all spun up about whether “Catholic U.’s Chaste Brand” was scaring off prospective students.
Some anonymous professors were practically gleeful that the reassertion of authentic Catholicism at CUA, begun under Father David O’Connell and continued robustly under current president John Garvey, was finally shown to have failed.
Market researchers hired by the administration had completed a report on how CUA can increase enrollment from 3,300 undergraduates to a goal of 4,000 and the challenges getting there. Among the many issues discussed in a faculty presentation in January was Catholic identity. The researchers concluded that CUA has reached the maximum students it can attract by an overt appeal to the religiosity on campus and that other appeals should be made, chiefly CUA’s niche as a global Catholic research university.
But what was spun by disgruntled professors and dutifully reported by the Chronicle and others is that Catholic has supposedly become too religious and this has hurt enrollment, the implication being that the school should curtail all that Catholic stuff or a good part of it. No more videos about the Catholic mind, no more nuns and priests and popes on the CUA homepage. I will repeat. This was not the conclusion of the market researchers. The researchers did not say the religious identity of Catholic should be reduced or changed or anything like that, only that other aspects of CUA needed to be emphasized.
The report comes at a time when Catholic is going through a restructuring of its academic programs, faculty workload and assignments. Through its “Proposal for Academic Review,” the administration seeks to “strengthen both academic excellence and financial sustainability,” according to a letter sent to an ad hoc committee of the academic senate by CUA provost Andrew Abela. The administration wants each faculty member to teach three courses per semester, something already mandated by the Faculty Handbook. The result of this would be a surplus of teaching hours which would allow for a reduction in full-time faculty—35 in all; most of whom have taken voluntary early retirement. Such reductions would save $3.5 million a year and strengthen some expanding departments.
Not so much in the background, however, is unhappiness among some that CUA continues, in fact seems to have sped up, its commitment to being known not just as Catholic but as faithfully Catholic, explicitly Catholic, really really no kidding Catholic. This started long ago when Fr. David O’Connell took over in 1998. According to the Washington Post, when O’Connell took over the “campus was unkempt and spiritually adrift.”
Under his tenure, controversy followed controversy. As the Post reports, celebrity speakers were disinvited, student newspapers seized, and—gasp!—student sex was prohibited. At a time when gays were really flexing their muscles and even Catholic colleges and universities went gay-crazy, O’Connell would not let them organize on campus, even though there was a recognized group under his predecessor.
Dr. John Garvey took over in 2010 and almost immediately let them know the orthodox trajectory would continue. For starters, he ended co-ed dorms. Moreover, in a 2013 letter, Garvey wrote that the debate about “consent” in sexual relations was misplaced. He said, “Chastity is an unfashionable virtue nowadays, but the idea is not hard to understand. Casual sex is harmful if there is no coercion. It plays at love for sport. It makes promises that the players don’t intend to keep. It insults the dignity of the other person by treating him or her as a sex toy rather than a child of God. It divorces sex from the creation of new life and the unity of a family.”
Regarding faculty, Garvey and his colleagues unashamedly look for faithful Catholics. One senior administrator openly says not every faculty department has to have 100 percent faithful Catholics, but they expect the majority eventually to be. Garvey compares CUA faculty hires to the University of Chicago. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Garvey says, just as an economist with a preference for regulation and big-government stimulus might be a poor fit at Chicago, so too would a professor with little interest in the Catholic intellectual tradition be an unlikely match at Catholic University.
Retrieved May 11, 2018 from https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/curranism-finally-dead-catholic-university-america