Opinion: Does our Catholic university practice what they preach?

By Chelsea Cook | January 17, 2017 1:22pm

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The University of Portland prides itself on its Catholic background and teachings, promoting their religious affiliation in all aspects of the school. But when does the University of Portland decide not to practice what they preach, and ignore the Catholic Social Teachings they hold to be so true?

According to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), one of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teachings is the idea of Life and Dignity of the Human Person, this is the belief that "every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person."

When a Catholic institution can look at any sexual assault case, and say to the students that they were not assaulted, that they were not harmed in this, that they are not believed; is the University living up to their core values, and the values of the Catholic Church? Has the University of Portland created a space that enhances the life and dignity of their students when they can't even acknowledge the harm done to these students, or when they can't even own up to the flaws of their teachings and programs?

When the University of Portland relies so heavily on their faith, they should be able to practice what they preach and allow an environment that lets the life and human dignity of a person flourish. Rather than look at the impact numbers and statistics can have on an institution, why not fully and wholeheartedly support your mission and faith? Why not allow the life and dignity of the human person flourish within your community?

When the University of Portland can't practice what they preach, they must be held accountable, and held to the standard of their Catholic faith and Social Teachings. We have yet to see that here at the University of Portland. Please join me in pushing the administration to make a change for the future, contact President Fr. Mark Poorman to advocate for change.

Chelsea Cook is a Junior Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Major as well as the Service and Justice Coordinator for Kenna Hall, she can be reached at cookc18@up.edu.

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