Education Notebook

Georgetown Suppression Called ‘Obscene’

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 14 — The Wall Street Journal noted with sarcasm that Georgetown “could use a little diversity” following its firing of a student from the university newspaper after he criticized a play being shown on campus called “The Vagina Monologues.”

Editors for The Hoya fired senior Robert Swope for writing a column that they said was not “constructive.” Swope had written that the play, which approvingly features a lesbian, pedophilic rape of a 13-year-old girl, was not appropriate for showing on the Catholic campus.

The Journal also noted that the firing caught the attention of a famous alumnus.

In a letter to The Hoya editors, William Peter Blatty, Class of ‘50, wrote: “With all that the demon says and does in my novel and film The Exorcist, never until I read of The Hoya's and [President] O'Donovan's support of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ and their suppression of Robert Swope's article, have I truly appreciated the meaning of the word ‘obscenity.’”

Ave Maria Law to Host Conference on Natural Law

ZENIT, April 16 — Scholars will debate and discuss St. Thomas Aquinas and natural law at a conference to be held at the new Ave Maria Law School in Ann Arbor, Mich., June 2-4.

The conference, called “St. Thomas and the Natural Law Tradition,” will feature Janet Smith of the University of Dallas, Robert George of Princeton University, David Novak of the University of Toronto, Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute and William May of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. Ave Maria Law School, launched by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, will officially open its doors in August.

Students Support Diversity But Not Affirmative Action

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, April 18 — Most students believe that ethnic diversity is an important goal for the nation's colleges, but they oppose using racial preferences to achieve such diversity, The Chronicle for Higher Education reported.

The finding came from a poll of 1,004 students commissioned by the New York-based Foundation for Academic Standards and Tradition. The poll also found that 84% considered ethnic diversity important, though 79% said that lowering the entrance requirements to achieve diversity was unfair to students, the Chronicle reported.

And 77% said it was not right to give preferential treatment to minority students, if it meant denying admission to other students.

The Chronicle also reported that a recent survey of the nation's freshmen by the Higher Education Research Institute, at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that nearly half believe that affirmative action should be abolished.

Priest Reviews Friar's Efforts To Save Jewish Kids From Nazis

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, April 12 — When the Nazis occupied France, Father Jacques Bunel, a French Carmelite, had “only one moral, human course or action” — to help save Jewish children, said a priesthistorian April 11, the Catholic News Service reported.

Father Francis J. Murphy, a professor of history at Boston College, told the story of the friar, better known as “Pere Jacques,” in a lecture at the Catholic University of America to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Father Murphy said, “The Lord did not propose the parable of the good Samaritan or the new command of love as options.

The fact that the majority of his compatriots and even his own government did not follow this ideal was for him both sad and sinful, but in no way diminished his duty,” the Catholic News Service reported.

The Carmelite hid Jewish boys and others in the school he helped found near Paris, Le Petit-College, where he also was headmaster. He was arrested in January 1944 and sent to a concentration camp in Germany.

He was liberated by Americans at Mauthausen in May 1945, but he died less than a month later.

On the 40th anniversary of Pere Jacques’ death, the state of Israel posthumously awarded him the Medal of the Righteous Among the Nations, a recognition of those who saved Jews from the Holocaust, the Catholic News Service reported.

In 1997, he and other Catholic rescuers were honored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Said Father Murphy, “For Pere Jacques, the Jews were, in theological terms, God's chosen people, and in spiritual terms his brothers and sisters.”