Dr Thayne McCulloh
Gonzaga University’s president, Dr Thayne McCulloh announced Tuesday that he was granting student club status to the campus chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
Gonzaga is a Catholic University, founded by the Jesuits.
Dr Sue Weitz
Dr McCulloh’s action reversed an earlier decision of his Vice President for Student Life, Dr Sue Weitz. Dr Weitz had refused the Knights of Columbus student club status because the group is Catholic and all-male in membership. Dr McCulloh has also directed the Student Activities department to review and update the policies which led to this decision in the first place.
Although I am glad that the university’s president has reversed the decision, the fact that it happened in the first place seems to me to raise questions about exactly what kind of education students are getting there. Is Gonzaga becoming just another secular institution where Christians are shunted aside and barely tolerated? Has political correctness replaced Gospel teaching on the campus?
There has been quite a bit of discussion over Vatican’s moves to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. I wonder if similar reforms, and for the same reasons, are needed at some of our Catholic universities.
.- The Knights of Columbus applauded a decision by Gonzaga University to grant them recognition as a sponsored organization after their application to be acknowledged as a student club was denied.
“We welcome this development and appreciate that our college Knight of Columbus Council #12583 has received official approval” as a sponsored university organization, the group said in a statement.
“We express our gratitude to the President of Gonzaga University, Dr. Thayne McCulloh, for his support and for asking for a review of the current Clubs and Organizations Recognition Policy and Process to deal with any inconsistencies.”
On April 30, Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh granted the Knights of Columbus status as a student club, after an earlier decision by the school’s student life office suggested that they would not be granted this recognition.
“The Knights of Columbus St. Aloysius Gonzaga Council #12583 is approved as a sponsored organization at Gonzaga,” said a statement released by McCulloh’s office.
“This sponsorship is granted under the University’s ‘Standards for On-Campus Religious Activities Policy.’”
On March 7, the university’s student life division had denied the council’s application for recognition as a “student organization,” according to a report by the Cardinal Newman Society.
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic charitable fraternal organization with 1.8 million members globally. It has more than 14,000 local councils – including numerous college councils – throughout the U.S. and overseas.
The vice president for student life at Gonzaga, Sue Weitz, had written the March 7 letter to the Knights council saying it could not be recognized as a “student organization” because the group is closed to women and non-Catholics. (Read the rest here.)