Campus Watch

Fuzzy Agenda

CATHOLIC STANDARD & TIMES, Nov. 4 — St. Joseph University's fourth annual diversity week elicited outrage from parents, students and alumni, including Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Joseph McFadden, who heads the archdiocesan education office.

Based on interviews with students who participated in “Rainbow Week,” the Philadelphia archdiocesan newspaper found that many came away with an incomplete understanding or outright misunderstanding of the Church's teaching on homosexuality.

Bishop McFadden said that “lack of understanding” indicates “it's St. Joseph's responsibility to look at their work.”

Ex Corde Canada

LIFESITENEWS, Oct. 29 — The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has received Vatican approval for ordinances to implement the 1990 document on Catholic higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

“This is the first time the Canadian bishops have responded to the problem of widespread, entrenched rejection of Catholic moral teaching” at Catholic colleges, said the Canadian pro-life news site.

Following publication of the ordinances, the colleges and universities will have until August 2005 to put them into effect.

Crime Surge

THE NEW YORK POST, Nov. 1 — Authorities issued “a staggering 1,042 state liquor-law violations on Fordham University's Bronx campus — by far the most issued at area colleges,” reported the New York tabloid in a story on crime at the area's colleges and universities.

It also reported that dorm-room burglaries at St. John's University in Queens shot up 85% over the prior year. The annual publication of crime data is required by federal law.

Bragging Rights

ETRUTH, Oct. 31 — “You've got the two Catholic schools, and there are bragging rights that run awful deep,” said Fighting Irish football player Tyrone Willingham after Notre Dame's recent loss to Boston College, the fourth in as many years.

According to media coverage, the increasingly fierce rivalry is rooted in their shared quest for informal recognition as America's premier Catholic college football program.

For the storied Irish, the recent dominance by Boston College has caused something of an existential crisis. The recent loss, Willingham said, was like “somebody just stabbed you in your heart.”

Shifting Enrollment

DAILY NEWS, Nov. 1 — The Brooklyn Diocese could shutter as many as 25 schools next year due to an enrollment decline of 6% — some 3,000 students — in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

Nationally, from 2000 to 2003, enrollment in Catholic elementary schools dropped from 2,013,084 to 1,842,918 — a decline of 8.5%, nearly 3% a year, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate recently reported.

The Great Lakes region and the East saw declines that were offset by growth in the Southeast and Far West and in suburban areas.

New Chiefs

DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Nov. 4 — Two new Catholic college presidents were formally installed in October.

Francis Lazarus, the former provost of San Diego University, was inaugurated as the seventh president of the University of Dallas.

Jesuit Father Joseph Hacala took the helm as president of Wheeling Jesuit University after heading Wheeling's office of university mission and identity.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.