MU pulls support for FemSex workshop

After weeks of meetings at Marquette’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center located in the Alumni Memorial Union, FemSex, a 12-week student workshop focusing on dialogue about female sexuality and reproduction, has moved to an undisclosed location after the university rescinded its initial support for the program in response to complaints from faculty and former students.

The reversal of support for the program has caused a mixed reaction since University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz and Provost John Pauly pulled support for the program last week and forbade the meetings from being held in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

The workshop, which meets weekly to discuss subjects such as female health and identity, body image and sexual desire, was co-founded and facilitated by Marquette graduate students Claire Van Fossen and Rachel Bruns. The workshop began with information sessions Jan. 22 and was sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

Senior Communications Specialist Brian Dorrington said in a statement Monday that university leadership was initially unaware of the specific subject matter being discussed in the workshop.

“The workshop was initially approved by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center,” the statement reads. “After learning about the contents of the workshop from a student, university leadership reviewed the workshop outline and found that aspects fell outside the center’s stated purpose. Because of this, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is no longer sponsoring the student-led workshop.”

The FemSex syllabus states that the workshop “provides a safe space for exploration, encourages honest dialogue and facilitates collective learning. It engages and grapples with the social forces that inform individual experiences and seeks to build ally-ship.”

The workshop’s founders said the group is not adverse to Catholic values.

“We do not believe FemSex to be at odds with the mission of Marquette or the charter of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, and we uphold the need for safe student space on campus to seek affirmation of experiences and identities as well as discuss these issues,” Van Fossen and Bruns said in a joint statement.

Susannah Bartlow, director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, said in an email that she was approached by one of the student co-founders in early October and provided support for the students in hope of fostering discussion about sexual health within an appropriate context.

She added that the controversy surrounding FemSex should not distract from the mission of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

“This is a brief moment in a much longer (and more interesting) process of building a campus resource center,” she said.

Ethan Hollenberger, the former student who emailed university leadership asking for justification about why they sponsored the workshop, said the issue is not whether or not the group can meet, but whether or not the group should have university sponsorship.

“I asked why this was happening, whether the university supported it, and if they do, (to) give a defense for it,” Hollenberger said. “I emailed them on a Sunday, and by Wednesday afternoon, Provost Pauly replied saying they had stopped the sponsorship of it.”

Hollenberger, who writes on a blog for the Young American’s Foundation, a conservative organization which promotes “individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values” according to its mission statement, said his emails were sent with a journalistic purpose.

“This isn’t about the students not being able to meet on campus,” Hollenberger said. “It’s about the university endorsing something that not only I, but other students think is controversial.”

Marquette associate political science professor John McAdams wrote about the workshop on his personal blog “Marquette Warrior,” saying the content of the group did not serve its purpose in empowering women in their sexuality.

McAdams cited a writer for the Harvard Crimson in his post as saying, “Empowerment is about making your own choices, not about adhering to the FemSex agenda. I wonder how a class member who made the liberated choice to abstain from sex would be received in this group.”

McAdams added Wednesday in an interview that Marquette should consistently and carefully consider Catholic values when sponsoring controversial programming such as FemSex. He also said that the university is too quick to give into pressure.

“I think Marquette would cave in to the politically correct lobby if they make enough noise, and I think they would cave in to alumni and professors if they make enough noise,” he said. “In terms of crediting Marquette with good judgement, I don’t think either side (of the controversy) would do so.”

He went on to say that the group should be able to meet, just not with university sponsorship.

“If women want to have a feminist ‘hen party’ and talk about sex, that’s their business,” he said. “But the university shouldn’t sponsor it.”

Van Fossen said in a statement that FemSex was meant to foster discussion and support.

“FemSex at Marquette is intended to create space for conversation, engagement and support around issues of sexuality, embodiment and relationship – issues that are core to our humanity, yet too often shamed, silenced or ignored, frequently to the detriment of individuals and communities,” the statement read.

“The mission of FemSex at Marquette does not push an ideology, teach a curriculum, make prescriptions, generalize experiences or advocate a particular philosophy or morality.”

  • Zack

    Glad to see Marquette is honoring it’s archaic, intolerant, christian roots

  • Jordan

    As a graduate of Marquette University I apologize for the short coming of my school. I apologized that a Jesuit institution refuses to allow each individual to express themselves because that institution is afraid. I am sorry that Marquette is afraid to change , to take that first step and allow individuals to be themselves and stand up for themselves. I am sorry to the students at Marquette who feel that their voices are being stifled. I am sorry that an organization that prides itself on challenging individuals and celebrates individuals that go against society and fight for what is right, such as James McCabe and Dorthy Day. I apologize to all the students who took an initiative and participated in the FemSex workshop, and I am also proud that there is a group of people associated with Marquette who are willing to stand up and be heard.

  • michael

    As a grad student at Marquette it is disheartening to witness this process. The impact it has on the students is what matters. I have
    had numerous students in the last two days speak personally to me about feeling
    marginalized within the Marquette community. Young men and women are concerned
    about the atmosphere of the university and the judgment attached too much of
    the discussion surrounding this issue. Many Catholics I have spoken to in the
    last three days (including a number of clergy members) have gone to great pains
    to stress that the Catholic Church does not condemn any conversation about
    birth control, sexuality or gender issues. In fact, at the local level many
    segments of the church are actively seeking to foster conversation on these
    specific issues.

    Just a brief look through the list of student organizations sponsored by the
    university reveals a number of organizations that deal with issues of sexuality
    and gender. Are these groups consistently at risk of having their programs lose
    funding if they cross some arbitrary line of what constitutes an ‘appropriate
    topic?’ For that matter, what about student research? Will funding for student
    research topics be limited to only those deemed acceptable by these same
    guidelines? Does this mean that any research about sexuality and gender is
    inappropriate at this institution?

    My main concern is that Marquette seems to constantly find itself in the midst of
    divisive debates, generally pertaining to issues surrounding sexuality, gender
    and violence, that are detrimental to the institution, but more importantly for
    the student body. How many students do we risk losing… how many will cross
    Marquette off a list of potential schools… because they are gay, or an
    unmarried mother, or had an abortion, or are any religion but Catholic?? What
    is the message we are sending to our students? What about the goal of fostering diversity? I for one am reconsidering my decision to continue my education at Marquette because of what seems to be an increased oppression of already marginalized populations at this university. I am troubled on behalf of the students that have come to me for support and uneasy about my own opportunities at this university.
    I love the community of Marquette, but the institution seems to be in
    complete disarray.

    • EJ

      Michael, you bring up a great point about student organizations. Marquette recognizes and regulates student groups; however, endorsements and support is not given by the University itself. The FemSex workshop isn’t one of these groups.

      To be a student org, five students must submit paperwork to the Office of Student Development. The administration in OSD approves the org before it gets its final approval from Student Government.

      MU rules require statements like, “the views reflected in this program do not reflect those of Marquette University.” Additionally, all events are first approved by OSD.

      Funding for student orgs can come from a small allotment from MUSG. This money comes from the student activity fee, not tuition and has strict rules on how it can be spent. There is a essentially a grant writing process to get the funds. The majority of student orgs don’t receive any MUSG funding and must charge dues or raise the money.

      The arguments against FemSex isn’t about keeping them off campus. Many, including Father Pilarz, felt the university shouldn’t be seen as officially endorsing the programming.

      FemSex is still meeting. Should they seek legitimacy and permanent space on campus, they may choose to be sponsored by a student org or register as an org themselves.

      http://mu.edu/osd/policies/handbook/new_org.shtml

    • EJ

      Michael, you bring up a great point about student organizations. Marquette recognizes and regulates student groups; however, endorsements and support is not given by the University itself. The FemSex workshop isn’t one of these groups.

      To be a student org, five students must submit paperwork to the Office of Student Development. The administration in OSD approves the org before it gets its final approval from Student Government.

      MU rules require statements like, “the views reflected in this program do not reflect those of Marquette University.” Additionally, all events are first approved by OSD.

      Funding for student orgs can come from a small allotment from MUSG. This money comes from the student activity fee, not tuition and has strict rules on how it can be spent. There is a essentially a grant writing process to get the funds. The majority of student orgs don’t receive any MUSG funding and must charge dues or raise the money.

      The arguments against FemSex isn’t about keeping them off campus. Many, including Father Pilarz, felt the university shouldn’t be seen as officially endorsing the programming.

      FemSex is still meeting. Should they seek legitimacy and permanent space on campus, they may choose to be sponsored by a student org or register as an org themselves.

      http://mu.edu/osd/policies/handbook/new_org.shtml

  • Sarah

    The least administration could have done was look into what the real contents of the workshop were before pulling the plug. Also, if this workshop is so obviously not appropriate to a private, Catholic institution, why is no one holding Marquette accountable for sponsoring it in the first place? If this workshop is truly just a space for dialogue about issues relevant to real people’s lives, without pushing an agenda, it should absolutely be allowed to be sponsored on campus and the GSRC seems like the perfect space. As for the c*** word, it is considered an academic term in feminist theory. Catholic institution or not, people should have safety to voice their realities, even realities related to controversial topics.

  • Taynia

    I am thrilled that Marquette has come to its senses and pulled this “workshop.” The bottom line is this: like it or lump it, this is a private, Catholic university. Students of all stripes and persuasion have the right to attend this university – YES – but not all organizations, programs or “workshops” have the right to be officially recognized and sponsored BY the university. Why? Once again, it is a private CATHOLIC institution. I am perpetually dumbfounded that those who propose all manner of incompatible ideas, behavior and agendas for our campus are always the same ones who insist that what they are pushing/wanting does not “conflict” with Church teaching. Seriously? I can only assume that they haven’t the foggiest idea of what the Church’s “teaching” even is to make such stunning claims. Marquette did nothing wrong in pulling the plug on this. It is a good first step towards what is a much-needed, thorough house cleaning.

    • Jeremy Ault

      Please explain what is “anti-catholic” in the syllabus of the Femsex workshop. Have you attended it before? Also, as I stated earlier, this whole issue came about because the university is afraid of losing donor support. The moral issue is an aside. But, of course, everyone with stilted and narrow perspectives HAS to justify their actions through a simplistic moral paradigm. By the way, the two women that founded the Femsex workshop are graduate students and one of them studies theology. I think they have a good idea what it means to be “catholic.” Maybe you’re being a bit too simplistic?

      • Turnabout is fair play

        Jeremy, if you’re going to use these lines of argument, you should probably apply it to your own statements first. Your critique raises a straw-man while undermining your own position:

        1. How is the FemSex syllabus pro-Catholic?–have you studied Catholic teaching and dogma on sexuality? Empowerment, adoption, confidence, etc. are all good things in Catholic teaching, but gender division, abortion, contraception, masturbation, etc. are not–Catholicism, to use your own words, is not just a “one issue” faith.

        2. The money issue is just an aside–Father Pilarz (a trained Jesuit) feels strongly about the moral component. Unless you were on the inside of the decision-making process, you cannot unilaterally make the decision to pull the plug on the program a “one issue” decision.

        3. Everyone with a progressive and open perspective HAS to reduce dissenting opinions to moralistic rantings of those stuck in the past without actually addressing the rational content of the dissenting opinion. It is the height of arrogance to demand freedom of expression for the program with which one agrees but demand “punitive action” against another’s freedom of expression–Warrior blog post.

        4. If you are naive enough to think that everyone who studies theology has a “good idea of what it means to be ‘catholic’” then maybe you’re the one being too simplistic.

        • Jeremy Ault

          1. Ok, so throw the baby out with the bath water? You stand for getting rid of an institution that is set up to engender discussion of very life-affirming issues because you feel that certain aspects of the conversation COULD be against catholic teaching? Regardless of the world in which we all live, masturbation, rape, sexual promiscuity exist. You can’t just ignore them. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist, or that they shouldn’t be talked about within a religious institution. That is dangerous sentiment,and quite frankly, you shouldn’t condone such action. Life is life. It can be ugly. It can be beautiful. By only concentrating on those issues that you define as being “pertinent” to catholic teaching, means that you make faith completely irrelevant to the world at large. Sorry, you can’t run from reality. Also, when does talking about something automatically condone it????

          2. If the money issue was such an aside, then why was it the last argument of the initial letter that started this whole sideshow? Why was it brought up on numerous occasions? Why was it then that Marquette supported the program for 5 weeks, only to pull the plug when the threat of donations being revoked came into play? I agree with you that Father Pilarz lives out and believes in the moral mission of his university. However, you are mistaken when you think that an institution (such as a university) is controlled solely by its moral drive. If that were the case, then we wouldn’t have sex scandals. We wouldn’t have unjust hiring and firings. Because whether you like to admit it or not, money speaks and talks and walks both in the corporate world, in the nonprofit world, and in the religious world. Moreover, Marquette is a competitive institution. They want to obtain students, money, and recognition vis-a-vis other schools in its region. Why do you think the university literally spends millions of dollars on a basketball team? Is it to broadcast its Jesuit mission? Please…Money and the reputation of a college, in this situation, are not tangential to this debate, nor has it been from the beginning….

          3. The only side taking “punitive” action in this case is the University, a disgruntled (largely disrespected professor), and a 22-year old conservative. Additionally, don’t pretend there ISN’T a power dynamic at play in this whole debate. Professors and administrators have failed to protect students. Why was it necessary for Dr. McAdams to publish the names and emails of students he 1) doesn’t know and 2) disagrees with? Was it to engender debate? Or was it to encourage harassment Take off your blinders. Student-teacher power structures are being inverted in this debate and students are being hurt by having their name thrown about in public. Sorry, they didn’t choose to be in this situation. If you were to look at this like a majority of the people in the community do, you would see traditional powers–the school, a professor, and fiscal interests–actively engaging in undermining a student-led workshop. Where’s the freedom of expression in this instance? How are power dynamics manifest? Give me a break. We’re not talking about equal forces here. We’re talking about power, once again, hushing a supposed “anti-catholic” opinion.

          4.If you’re naive enough to think that everyone who claim be a Jesuit (or a Jesuit institution for that matter) are led solely by their Christian morality, then you too are hopelessly naive. Sorry. It’s the truth.

        • Jeremy Ault

          1. Ok, so throw the baby out with the bath water? You stand for getting rid of an institution that is set up to engender discussion of very life-affirming issues because you feel that certain aspects of the conversation COULD be against catholic teaching? Regardless of the world in which we all live, masturbation, rape, sexual promiscuity exist. You can’t just ignore them. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist, or that they shouldn’t be talked about within a religious institution. That is dangerous sentiment,and quite frankly, you shouldn’t condone such action. Life is life. It can be ugly. It can be beautiful. By only concentrating on those issues that you define as being “pertinent” to catholic teaching, means that you make faith completely irrelevant to the world at large. Sorry, you can’t run from reality. Also, when does talking about something automatically condone it????

          2. If the money issue was such an aside, then why was it the last argument of the initial letter that started this whole sideshow? Why was it brought up on numerous occasions? Why was it then that Marquette supported the program for 5 weeks, only to pull the plug when the threat of donations being revoked came into play? I agree with you that Father Pilarz lives out and believes in the moral mission of his university. However, you are mistaken when you think that an institution (such as a university) is controlled solely by its moral drive. If that were the case, then we wouldn’t have sex scandals. We wouldn’t have unjust hiring and firings. Because whether you like to admit it or not, money speaks and talks and walks both in the corporate world, in the nonprofit world, and in the religious world. Moreover, Marquette is a competitive institution. They want to obtain students, money, and recognition vis-a-vis other schools in its region. Why do you think the university literally spends millions of dollars on a basketball team? Is it to broadcast its Jesuit mission? Please…Money and the reputation of a college, in this situation, are not tangential to this debate, nor has it been from the beginning….

          3. The only side taking “punitive” action in this case is the University, a disgruntled (largely disrespected professor), and a 22-year old conservative. Additionally, don’t pretend there ISN’T a power dynamic at play in this whole debate. Professors and administrators have failed to protect students. Why was it necessary for Dr. McAdams to publish the names and emails of students he 1) doesn’t know and 2) disagrees with? Was it to engender debate? Or was it to encourage harassment Take off your blinders. Student-teacher power structures are being inverted in this debate and students are being hurt by having their name thrown about in public. Sorry, they didn’t choose to be in this situation. If you were to look at this like a majority of the people in the community do, you would see traditional powers–the school, a professor, and fiscal interests–actively engaging in undermining a student-led workshop. Where’s the freedom of expression in this instance? How are power dynamics manifest? Give me a break. We’re not talking about equal forces here. We’re talking about power, once again, hushing a supposed “anti-catholic” opinion.

          4.If you’re naive enough to think that everyone who claim be a Jesuit (or a Jesuit institution for that matter) are led solely by their Christian morality, then you too are hopelessly naive. Sorry. It’s the truth.

          • Turnabout

            You didn’t actually address the logic of my response nor of the specifics of my critique of your position. Instead, you accuse of running from reality, making broad statements of “pertinence,” having blinders on, and being unaware of power dynamics. Let me assure you, I am doing none of the above. If you look back at my post, you will see that I just tried to apply the logic of your argument for the other side of the debate. The first sentence in each number (1-3) applies your logic and but reverses the starting point–that you take offense to your own logic is telling.

            A couple of quick replies because I don’t really believe you’re listening to words that I am writing but ascribing motives to positions you disagree with:

            1. If Catholic teaching on issues such as abortion, pre-marital sex, masturbation et al are against societal norms of today, does that mean that the teaching ignores the issues? Surely, you are not saying that a prohibitive teaching is ignoring reality or the existence of events and circumstances? I don’t condone the action of pretending something doesn’t exist. But it seems to me that one of the central tenets of the FemSex workshop is “non-judgmental responses” [please correct me if I'm wrong here]. As such the Church’s teaching against abortion, masturbation, contraception would not be allowed within the workshop. Wouldn’t that prohibition against such teaching run counter to Marquette’s Catholic identity?

            2. I never said money wasn’t an issue–it most clearly is at any business, profit or non-profit. My point was that you don’t know the decision-making process of Pilarz or Pauly, so to ascribe singular motivations (which you’re still doing by the way) is out of place. Neither Pilarz nor Pauly mention money as the reason for pulling official support from the program. I’m sure it did play a part but so did the moral/Catholic-mission part; neither one is an “aside.” I never said that the moral component “solely controlled” the decision. As I said before, the first statement in each number uses your words and logic from the other side of the debate–intended to show you the fallacy of your logic.

            3. Did you read the letter to the editor by Claire Von Fossen? She plainly “demands punitive action” be taken by the administration against a tenured professor for statements and opinions he made on a personal blog. I don’t think McAdams should have published names and email addresses, but certainly the students who responded to him on his blog included that information and made it public to McAdams. As far as the power imbalance, you are correct; however, the misuse of that power seems overstated by you. Removing official support is not the same as squashing the event, undermining the workshop, or hushing an opinion. In fact, Pilarz and Pauly expressly stated that the workshop could continue to meet on campus without being sponsored by the Gender Center.

            4. Do you honestly believe that because a person has studied theology that he or she has a good grasp on Catholic theology and can speak authoritatively, even when it goes against traditional and accepted clear statements to the contrary? Moreover, I would never believe that anyone is led solely [why do you keep using that word?] by his or her morality. Human beings are far more complex than that–it certainly is the truth.

            Your perceptions of others and their arguments seems to happen in a very black-and-white structure. The motivations and beliefs of others are easy to take apart when they are presented in the simplistic manner you have (which I tried to creatively point out in my first post), but they bear no relation to the reality of human experience.

          • Turnabout

            You didn’t actually address the logic of my response nor of the specifics of my critique of your position. Instead, you accuse of running from reality, making broad statements of “pertinence,” having blinders on, and being unaware of power dynamics. Let me assure you, I am doing none of the above. If you look back at my post, you will see that I just tried to apply the logic of your argument for the other side of the debate. The first sentence in each number (1-3) applies your logic and but reverses the starting point–that you take offense to your own logic is telling.

            A couple of quick replies because I don’t really believe you’re listening to words that I am writing but ascribing motives to positions you disagree with:

            1. If Catholic teaching on issues such as abortion, pre-marital sex, masturbation et al are against societal norms of today, does that mean that the teaching ignores the issues? Surely, you are not saying that a prohibitive teaching is ignoring reality or the existence of events and circumstances? I don’t condone the action of pretending something doesn’t exist. But it seems to me that one of the central tenets of the FemSex workshop is “non-judgmental responses” [please correct me if I'm wrong here]. As such the Church’s teaching against abortion, masturbation, contraception would not be allowed within the workshop. Wouldn’t that prohibition against such teaching run counter to Marquette’s Catholic identity?

            2. I never said money wasn’t an issue–it most clearly is at any business, profit or non-profit. My point was that you don’t know the decision-making process of Pilarz or Pauly, so to ascribe singular motivations (which you’re still doing by the way) is out of place. Neither Pilarz nor Pauly mention money as the reason for pulling official support from the program. I’m sure it did play a part but so did the moral/Catholic-mission part; neither one is an “aside.” I never said that the moral component “solely controlled” the decision. As I said before, the first statement in each number uses your words and logic from the other side of the debate–intended to show you the fallacy of your logic.

            3. Did you read the letter to the editor by Claire Von Fossen? She plainly “demands punitive action” be taken by the administration against a tenured professor for statements and opinions he made on a personal blog. I don’t think McAdams should have published names and email addresses, but certainly the students who responded to him on his blog included that information and made it public to McAdams. As far as the power imbalance, you are correct; however, the misuse of that power seems overstated by you. Removing official support is not the same as squashing the event, undermining the workshop, or hushing an opinion. In fact, Pilarz and Pauly expressly stated that the workshop could continue to meet on campus without being sponsored by the Gender Center.

            4. Do you honestly believe that because a person has studied theology that he or she has a good grasp on Catholic theology and can speak authoritatively, even when it goes against traditional and accepted clear statements to the contrary? Moreover, I would never believe that anyone is led solely [why do you keep using that word?] by his or her morality. Human beings are far more complex than that–it certainly is the truth.

            Your perceptions of others and their arguments seems to happen in a very black-and-white structure. The motivations and beliefs of others are easy to take apart when they are presented in the simplistic manner you have (which I tried to creatively point out in my first post), but they bear no relation to the reality of human experience.

          • Jeremy Ault

            No offense, but someone who doesn’t bother to use their real name to stand by their opinions, shouldn’t be accusing me of “over playing” a power imbalance in which students names and email addresses are being abused by a power-hungry professor. I think you would feel very differently if you were in a situation where you were being harassed or your name (of which you conveniently keep hidden in this debate) was paraded about for public ridicule.

            Also, I answered your statements. I didn’t answer to your logic. I’m not interested in getting into an aesthetic, pseudo intellectual debate about “devil’s advocates” and “logical fallacies” (of course, you’ll see this as being too simplistic, blah, blah). By doing that, you’re coming across as elitist and above reproach. We both are going to disagree with each other. But the difference between the two of us, is that I’m not trying to act like I have more intellectual skill or knowledge than you. You seem to care more about “the practice” of catching others in theoretical wastelands and honing your debating skills. All the while, I’m more concerned with the practical consequences of what’s actually happening to 1) students and 2) the university.

          • Jeremy Ault

            No offense, but someone who doesn’t bother to use their real name to stand by their opinions, shouldn’t be accusing me of “over playing” a power imbalance in which students names and email addresses are being abused by a power-hungry professor. I think you would feel very differently if you were in a situation where you were being harassed or your name (of which you conveniently keep hidden in this debate) was paraded about for public ridicule.

            Also, I answered your statements. I didn’t answer to your logic. I’m not interested in getting into an aesthetic, pseudo intellectual debate about “devil’s advocates” and “logical fallacies” (of course, you’ll see this as being too simplistic, blah, blah). By doing that, you’re coming across as elitist and above reproach. We both are going to disagree with each other. But the difference between the two of us, is that I’m not trying to act like I have more intellectual skill or knowledge than you. You seem to care more about “the practice” of catching others in theoretical wastelands and honing your debating skills. All the while, I’m more concerned with the practical consequences of what’s actually happening to 1) students and 2) the university.

          • Turnabout

            Are you trying to prove my point? I answered your rebuttals and pushed you on your assumptions and your response is to accuse me of being elitist, pseudo-intellectual, and trying to act “like I have more intellectual skill.” I responded to the content of each of your posts and refrained from making any snap judgments about your character or motivations. You haven’t done the same. For someone so concerned about power-imbalance, respect, and empowerment, this is a strange way of showing it.

            You are participating in an online comment forum of the student newspaper–a place intended to foster debate and interaction–did you want everyone to agree with you? I don’t care about catching someone in a theoretical wasteland (what exactly is that btw?), I have addressed your comments with real world treatments of Catholic teaching, FemSex at MU statements, and words that have been posted publicly. You have attributed words, motivations, and assumptions to me that I plainly haven’t said in order to dismiss my argument as theoretical bloviating and elitist rhetoric.Why do you think I am not concerned with this school or its students–just because I don’t reach the same conclusions as you?

            I’ll make it easier for you to respond to the content, if you so choose. Here are the questions/statements I raised that you still haven’t answered:

            1. Would Catholic teaching against pre-marital sex, abortion, and masturbation be welcomed at a FemSex meeting if presented by a student, or would it come across as judgmental and out-of-bounds (you’ll notice I didn’t say this was the WHOLE of Catholic teaching on sexuality, but it is a part)?

            2. Do you have some inside knowledge that reveals that money was the primary motivator for Pilarz and Pauly, or is it possible that their morals also (not solely) played a part in the decision?

            3. Besides the blog post, how did McAdams exert power over Pilarz and Pauly to cause the removal of sponsorship for the FemSex Workshop? Is the FemSex workshop being outlawed on campus and its campus founders removed from their programs (one could certainly argue that more students who never went to the program will now check it out because of the increased publicity)?

            Your inflammatory words have real-world consequences for how students perceive themselves and their university. If you want to stay practical, then let’s accurately represent what’s going on–an example of these inflammatory words: You state, “You stand for getting rid of an institution that is set up to engender discussion of very life-affirming issues because you feel that certain aspects of the conversation COULD be against catholic teaching?” Are you saying that the FemSex workshop is an institution at Marquette? Did the administration actually ban it or get rid of it? Do you really think that certain aspects of the conversation aren’t against some Catholic teaching on life and sexuality? If you can answer “yes” to the preceding three questions, then I rescind my judgment of your comments as inflammatory and extend my apologies. As an actual aside–None of my comments say I stood for anything you accuse me of in that quote.

            Intentionally, not conveniently, anonymous because it’s an INTERNET comment board,

            Turnabout

            PS: No offense taken.

          • Turnabout

            Are you trying to prove my point? I answered your rebuttals and pushed you on your assumptions and your response is to accuse me of being elitist, pseudo-intellectual, and trying to act “like I have more intellectual skill.” I responded to the content of each of your posts and refrained from making any snap judgments about your character or motivations. You haven’t done the same. For someone so concerned about power-imbalance, respect, and empowerment, this is a strange way of showing it.

            You are participating in an online comment forum of the student newspaper–a place intended to foster debate and interaction–did you want everyone to agree with you? I don’t care about catching someone in a theoretical wasteland (what exactly is that btw?), I have addressed your comments with real world treatments of Catholic teaching, FemSex at MU statements, and words that have been posted publicly. You have attributed words, motivations, and assumptions to me that I plainly haven’t said in order to dismiss my argument as theoretical bloviating and elitist rhetoric.Why do you think I am not concerned with this school or its students–just because I don’t reach the same conclusions as you?

            I’ll make it easier for you to respond to the content, if you so choose. Here are the questions/statements I raised that you still haven’t answered:

            1. Would Catholic teaching against pre-marital sex, abortion, and masturbation be welcomed at a FemSex meeting if presented by a student, or would it come across as judgmental and out-of-bounds (you’ll notice I didn’t say this was the WHOLE of Catholic teaching on sexuality, but it is a part)?

            2. Do you have some inside knowledge that reveals that money was the primary motivator for Pilarz and Pauly, or is it possible that their morals also (not solely) played a part in the decision?

            3. Besides the blog post, how did McAdams exert power over Pilarz and Pauly to cause the removal of sponsorship for the FemSex Workshop? Is the FemSex workshop being outlawed on campus and its campus founders removed from their programs (one could certainly argue that more students who never went to the program will now check it out because of the increased publicity)?

            Your inflammatory words have real-world consequences for how students perceive themselves and their university. If you want to stay practical, then let’s accurately represent what’s going on–an example of these inflammatory words: You state, “You stand for getting rid of an institution that is set up to engender discussion of very life-affirming issues because you feel that certain aspects of the conversation COULD be against catholic teaching?” Are you saying that the FemSex workshop is an institution at Marquette? Did the administration actually ban it or get rid of it? Do you really think that certain aspects of the conversation aren’t against some Catholic teaching on life and sexuality? If you can answer “yes” to the preceding three questions, then I rescind my judgment of your comments as inflammatory and extend my apologies. As an actual aside–None of my comments say I stood for anything you accuse me of in that quote.

            Intentionally, not conveniently, anonymous because it’s an INTERNET comment board,

            Turnabout

            PS: No offense taken.

          • Turnabout

            So Jeremy, does Pilarz’s letter in today’s Tribune explaining his decision as a response to a current student’s concern about FemSex change your argument or do you choose not to believe his statement? Does it change the power dynamic at all that Pilarz and the GSRC was standing up for the concerns of a student IN the workshop? Or does this not fall under your category of a “practical consequence” of what’s actually happening to a student at this university?

            Could it be that your critique of Pilarz and the removal of GSRC sponsorship was founded not on fact but assumption and innuendo…

          • Claire

            They were not the concerns of a student in the workshop. That is false.

          • Jeremy Ault

            “I have addressed your comments with real world treatments of Catholic teaching, FemSex at MU statements, and words that have been posted publicly.” I’m curious as to how you have done this? Your first post doesn’t have much substance in it. It’s chalk full of rhetorical questions. That is all. You too are guilty of rash judgments and assumptions (point number 3 in your post as example “A”).

            It’s one of the oldest debate tricks in the book to take the “moral high ground” as if one has been offended. I mean no offense to your character, only to your narrow arguments. Have you read a paper outside of Marquette lately about this debate? I’m afraid you’re on the wrong side…. :)

            …..and you still don’t use your name. Nice talking to you, whoever you may be…….

  • Josh

    I think these students should have been allowed to hold their workshop. Isn’t discussion of these things what the GSRC is for? I don’t see anything anti-catholic in their syllabus. They aren’t imposing their own view or anything. Just my opinion…

  • Jennifer

    I stand by Marquette’s decision to pull the workshop. Despite the intensely vague reporting by the Tribune, the full story is that the workshop asked participants to engage in activities that are contrary to Christian teachings. Using the ‘c word’ to refer to a woman’s anatomy, asking for erotic and sexual stories, and other similar activities are not in line with the school’s teachings or values. Marquette did not ‘suppress’ free speech – it choose not to SPONSOR the workshop. There is a difference, and Marquette did nothing wrong.

    • Jeremy Ault

      I guess speaking about avenues of “adoption,” “empowerment,” “confidence,” and the “birthing process” are now anti-catholic? Christianity is more than a single issue. Why is that you only choose to focus on the supposed amorous character of a workshop that of you have NEVER attended before? Isn’t a Christian-affiliated university the perfect place for people to talk about their sexuality and gender? Isn’t it OK to challenge ones personal, moral paradigm? Isn’t it OK for students of all faiths to engage in discussion of these issues? Where was all this outrage when the university purposely covered up an actual sex scandal with the basketball team? It seems to me, that that institution is still going strong. No, you don’t get upset when women are objectified and abused. You only get morally indignant when women and gender are discussed in a setting that is 1) safe and 2) affirming and 3) equal.

    • James

      Too many people are trying to twist the idea of this workshop into something more than dialogue and discussion. The article states quite clearly that, “The workshop, which meets weekly to discuss subjects such as female health and identity, body image and sexual desire…” For some odd reason, Mr. Hollenberger chose to imply that the workshop was going to be some sort of anti-religious orgy intended to transform innocent students into man-hating robots. When an Academy Awards dance number making fun of actresses’ “boobies” draws less outrage than a program which tries to educate and open honest discussion then we all obviously need to do some self introspection.

  • Jeremy Ault

    I find Mr. Hollenberger’s “journalistic” intent intriguing, considering the main crux of his argument had little to do with morals or catholic values, but had EVERYTHING to do with Marquette University losing monetary donations. His note to the University is public. Read it. It seems the university is acting to protect its fiscal endowment not its students or academic freedom of expression.