Dr. Matthew Cuddeback, sponsor of the controversial “Who Am I?” talk by Dr. Michelle Cretella, has announced the postponement of the event due to concern that “Dr. Cretella may be the object of animus were she to present at PC next week.” Dr. Cuddeback alleges inconsistency in campus support for academic freedom. But, as has been pointed out, many contest not the event itself but rather the way in which it has been advertised. The announcement was made by email to to the PC faculty at about 9:40 Thursday morning. The full text of Dr. Cuddeback’s email is below:
I extend my appreciation to those who have defended my arrangement of the talk by Dr. Michelle Cretella, MD. I arranged this talk—as well two others still to come this semester—in response to the call by Dr. Nick Longo, Dr. Chris Arroyo and other signers of a November 3 email to department chairs, for faculty to initiate programming around the issue of homosexuality. I am struck that many of the indignant voices raised for academic freedom in the wake of the cancellation of Dr. Corvino’s talk have been absent or ambivalent in the discussion of Dr. Cretella’s talk. Where are those voices now? Some have been silent. Some are harrumphing about NARTH, science, and reparative therapy. Some, who proposed to advocate for a campus-wide discussion that would include all perspectives, are trying to shame faculty who invite a speaker holding one of those perspectives, as irresponsibly insensitive to LGBT students. Do they believe that the freedom to speak belongs only to those who agree with their position?
I must observe that while Dr. Cretella is identified on the flyer as a board member of NARTH, the subject of her talk is not reparative therapy. Rather, as the flyer reads: “in this presentation, Dr. Cretella will describe her journey to navigate the controversial issue of homosexuality as a physician and a Catholic.” Dr. Cretella is not a therapist, and had no intent to speak as one. Her intent was to speak of her journey, as a physician, from rejecter to appreciator of the Catholic and natural law traditions concerning homosexuality. Her account deserves to be listened to—in the way that, at a university, such an account should be listened to rather than shouted down or shamed before it is heard.
Because I sense that Dr. Cretella may be the object of animus were she to present at PC next week, I have advised her that we shall postpone her presentation.
I believe that open academic discussion of homosexuality, from different perspectives, can be fruitful for our campus. I would ask my faculty colleagues to support the two talks that I have scheduled for early March and early April (see below). Perhaps some of the department chairs and program directors who signed the November 3 email from Nick Longo, and who have sponsored other events surrounding the topic of homosexuality, might be willing to serve sponsors of these talks too.
Respectfully, with my best regards,
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
THE TWO TALKS:
The Global AIDS Epidemic: Hope Through a Person-Centered Response
Dr. Timothy Flanigan, MD, Brown University Medical School
Tuesday, March 4
The Catholic Church and Homosexuality: Charity and Clarity
Fr. Paul Check, Executive Director of Courage International
With a member of Courage International
Wednesday, April 9
Ruane LL 05