Colleges and Universities are usually thought to be a place where knowledge is conferred. But one is justified; it seems, in questioning whether knowledge can be conferred in settings where common sense and prudence are so gravely lacking. Here are excerpts from an article today in the Washington Examiner:
New Jersey’s flagship state university has decided to allow male and female students to share rooms in three dorms in an effort to make the Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus more inclusive for gay students after a highly publicized suicide last year.
Starting this fall, all students — whether gay, lesbian, transgender or heterosexual — can choose either male or female roommates under the pilot program. Men and women will share bathrooms.
A similar, but smaller, pilot program is being launched at the Newark campus.
A number of other schools, including the University of Maryland, New York’s Columbia University and Washington’s George Washington University, offer similar housing options….
Rutgers got wide attention last year after freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. Authorities say that days before, his roommate in a dorm used a webcam to capture Clementi during an intimate encounter with another man…..[Following] there was increased scrutiny of the way gay, lesbian and transgender students are sometimes treated on campus….
These are excerpts full article is here: Rutgers Allows….
The absurdity and imprudence of campus life grows graver with each decade. College Campuses, as a general rule, are a grave threat to the moral life of the students who attend. Students, who need clear guidance on moral issues, are thrown by faculty and parents into a moral cesspool of drugs, alcohol, and illicit sexual union. The irresponsibility of college faculty and administrators is nothing short of horrifying.
Of course we have journeyed to this latest absurdity of males and females sharing dorm rooms in stages.
Many years ago many colleges were not even co-ed, due to the reasonable premise that sexual temptation and distractions were problematic in a learning environment. Those colleges that were co-ed carefully segregated the young men and women in separate dorm buildings altogether. Women’s dorms were carefully protected. A guard in the front lobby limited access, and if a young woman had a male visitor she would come down to the lobby and meet him there. Men were not allowed beyond the lobby.
Now I was not born yesterday, and I surely know that there may have been some sneaking around and use of back entrances and fire escapes. But in the end, colleges had strict policies that both discouraged fornication and limited opportunities for the behavior. This was prudent and responsible.
By the late sixties boundaries began to disappear and faculty and college administrators began to shed their sense of responsibility for the moral life of the students. This, of course, is one of the more serious problems of the modern age wherein we no longer share a moral vision and/or have a care for the moral condition of one another. Never mind the terrible toll that all the drinking, drugs and sex has on the young men and women. The dangerous behaviors, the STDs, pregnancy, abortion and moral confusion, never mind all that. That is “none of our business.”
It is a malfeasance due to the utter neglect shown by those who ought to have greater care for the overall well-being of the students. To them the Lord has this to say, It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin (Luke 17:2)
Through the 1970s and into the 80s common dorm buildings for men and women become more the norm. There was the fiction of separate floors, but what is a staircase to desirous tweens and twenty-somes.
The next absurdity was common bathroom facilities on mixed floors. Why did the women even tolerate such an indignity? Even as a male, I would never have gone to a college where they would suggest to me the absurdity of shared toilet stalls and showers for men and women together.
And now the final blow: “Just let ‘em shack up openly,” as an officially sanctioned university policy. After all, who really cares about their moral life? Who’s really to say anyway? Or so the stinking thinking seems to be.
And then, just to add more absurdity, the leap is made that somehow all of this is really meant to be “gay-friendly.” What young college men and women shacking up has to do with affirming the gay lifestyle is surely opaque to me. To someone such as me, uninitiated in the sexual revolution, the explanation the university gives about this connection still makes no sense, even once it is offered. Living in the same dorm room says only one thing to me: fornication is fine. Of course it isn’t fine and colleges ought not encourage such imprudent and, I would add, sinful behavior.
I don’t know what I would do if I were a parent today. I don’t think I could send my kids off to most colleges or universities. I’d have to look carefully for a traditional Catholic College.
Some argue we have to send them off to the big name places so they can get a good career. To this Jesus has something to say, What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul? (Mark 8:36). We need to re-examine our priorities. What is more important, the degree and career, or one’s soul? Parents usually want to know something of the tuition costs of college and will often go up with their kid to orientation. But do they ask to meet with the Catholic Chaplain? Do they assess the moral climate? Do they insist on proper housing and reasonable moral safeguards for their children?
And we clergy too have to think about this. For it often happens that someone will say, “Great News!, My Kid just got a full scholarship to Harvard or Columbia or whatever.” And we clergy say, “Great!” when what we should say is, “Ok, now who is going to preach the Gospel to your kid up there so he stands a chance of not losing his soul?” For it is quite possible, in the current moral climate of college, for a reasonably decent kid to go in, come out a Harvard lawyer, but be headed straight for hell. How serious are we clergy in speaking to our departing college kids about the moral climate and the need to resist it? Even before they pick a college, how insistent are we that they look for a moral climate better that Rutgers et al.?
As for me, I do gather my departing college students and give them the “stay with Jesus talk.” We do try and connect them with the local Catholic parish or Newman center. I want them to enter the college scene with sobriety (pardon the pun), and realizing that they are often heading for a real moral swamp, that they had better not wade in. But I need to do more. I need a small cadre of volunteers to call our students regularly and make sure they are getting to Mass, going to confession and avoiding sin.
We have to do better by our children than to send them to moral swamps. Where are the outraged parents and alumni of these colleges? Places like Rutgers can only get away with this sort of absurd plan because parents and alumni either don’t care, or are silent. We too, if we remain silent are part of the problem. I told a certain college I once did some studies with, that they would never get a dime or a recommendation from me as an alumnus until they cleaned up their moral act.
To end on a positive note, there ARE some very good Catholic colleges out there that still care for the moral life of the young people entrusted to their care. The Cardinal Newman Society keeps a pretty good watch on the health of Catholic Colleges and has issued a guide “Choosing a Catholic College” to assist parents and college bound students in seeking a healthy moral and academic environment that is in conformity with Catholic teaching.
We need to be serious. Many colleges are a serious threat out children’s moral welfare and eternal salvation. Orate et vigilate! (pray and be watchful!)
Photo Credit: New Brunswick City, NJ (Right Click for Properties).