Justin Vacula, a graduate student at Marywood University (Catholic), recently requested approval for a Secular Student Alliance group on campus. The request was denied by the Student Activities and Campus Ministry.
Secular Student Alliance is a group whose mission is “to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics.” They look to provide nontheist student with voices.
Marywood’s Mission and Core Values are imbued with references to diversity, broader society, education as the foundation for leadership, etc. What it does NOT say is that you must be religious to attend.
I do think that Marywood University has the RIGHT to decline any group. On the other hand, I do not find it sits well that they have denied a group focused on secularism when they have others groups that do not conform to Catholic doctrine. It certainly seems like discrimination based on the cherry picking of issues.
My overall thought is that sticking your head in the sand does NOT make things go away, it does NOT foster understanding, it does NOT speak well of those making the decision, and it does NOT speak well of the institution. Their understanding of diversity and mine are *different*.
For now, the NEPA Freethought Society is available and supportive of secular students and secularists in general.
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