GUSA RESOLUTIONS GUSA Rejects Resolution Thanking Arinze Assembly Votes 11-3 Against Proposal Lauding Cardinal for Commencement Address By Aaron Terrazas Hoya Staff Writer

Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Junior Class representative Matt auney submitted a resolution to thank Cardinal Arinze for his remarks at May’s College commencement.

GUSA rejected a resolution Tuesday night that would have thanked Cardinal Francis Arinze for his College commencement speech last ay. His remarks fueled a campus debate on free speech, the inclusion of homosexuals and the university’s Catholic identity.

A handful of students and theology professor Theresa Sanders left the May 17 ceremony after Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as well as a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II, said the family is “mocked by homosexuality.”

“In many parts of the world, the family is under siege,” Arinze said. “It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.”

Junior class representative Matt Mauney (COL ’05), the bill’s sponsor, intended to thank Arinze for giving an “appropriate and meaningful commencement address in keeping with Catholic teaching and the Georgetown University mission,” and affirmed the Student Association’s commitment of “an inclusive, pluralistic society” on campus.

The assembly defeated the resolution, 11-3, with senior class representatives Charlene Rosencrance (SFS ’04) and Jack Ternan (COL ’04), who also serves as chair of the assembly, joining Mauney in support.

The debate centered on whether endorsing Arinze’s right to speak was equivalent to endorsing his message.

Mauney emphasized that an inclusive society must include people from all political and social backgrounds.

“There is a culture of hate on our campus aimed at Catholics and Christians,” he said. “There is a double standard on campus where students don’t resort to parliamentary debate; they resort to extreme words and actions. Something must be done to prevent this.”

Some representatives criticized Mauney for not including the controversial phrase in Arinze’s speech, but Mauney defended the resolution.

“That statement has been the only part of the speech anyone has heard about,” he said. “People are taking this out of context.”

Junior class representative Luis Torres (COL ’05) led the opposition to Mauney’s resolution and proposed a counter-resolution of his own.

“I’m not a priest. I’m not a pastor, but I am a Catholic and I don’t think this type of message is what students here at Georgetown want to see,” he said. “We’re not that type of community.”

Torres’ resolution called for an affirmation of “Georgetown’s commitment to an inclusive, pluralistic society.” Mauney disagreed, however, saying Torres’ resolution “implies a condemnation of the Catholic Church.”

Student observers expressed doubt about the merits behind auney’s resolution.

“I’m lacking how this is any more than lip service to our own beliefs,” Phil Beer (SFS ’05) said, asking, “How is this going to affect the Joe Hoya in his daily life?” Beer is a HOYA columnist.

Torres’ resolution was tabled for the evening and will be discussed further at next week’s GUSA meeting.

After the meeting adjourned, GUSA President Brian Morgenstern (COL ’05) said he thought the debate became too repetitive.

“Nonetheless, I’m satisfied GUSA did not vote affirmatively on the resolution,” he said. “I’m interested for next week how we will form a resolution that supports Arinze’s free speech but does not endorse his message.”

College Dean Jane McAuliffe explained in an e-mail to College faculty in May that she invited Arinze with the expectation that he would speak about Christian-Muslim relations.

“Since for some years I sat on an inter-religious dialogue commission with the Cardinal, I expected inter-religious relations to form the substance of his remarks at commencement and was very surprised that it was not the topic,” she said.

Gladys Cisneros (SFS ’04) of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee criticized the Cardinal for not sticking to religious pluralism in his address.

“He distorted the opportunity,” she said.

Chuck VanSant, the Georgetown LGBTQ Coordinator, said he supported a diversity of opinion on campus but said he thought that Arinze’s speech should have been in a different setting and a different context.

The Georgetown University Faculty Senate approved a resolution similar to Torres’ on Oct. 21 calling for the university to publicly affirm its commitment to an “inclusive, pluralistic community.”

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