Remembering Siobhán Ross

Ross-siobhan-WEB

“…She was a petite woman who drove motorcycles and loved adventure cycling. Her accent — she would speak about a cup of ‘cawfee’ — did not even hint at her love of English soccer and rugby, he said. And she insisted on riding her scooter, a Buddy International Saint Tropez 150, to work, whatever the weather.

‘She would always look for new things to try out to help the faculty be better teachers, to help the staff use the tools we have, and to foster student creativity,’ said Hauerwas. ‘But she always kept the focus on the people who were using that technology — supporting them, and making them feel capable and better about themselves whenever they had a problem with something. That was magic.'”  Read the full obituary at PC News

A memorial Mass will be celebrated in St. Dominic Chapel at Providence College on Friday, Dec. 5, at 11:35 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation in Siobhán’s name to the Providence Animal Rescue League

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Controversial Talk Postponed By Sponsor

Breaking News

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:

Dear Colleagues,

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,

Matthew Cuddeback

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

7:00pm

Moore III

 

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

4:00pm

Ruane LL 05

A Message From the Friarfighters

The previously planned demonstration will not be taking place on Saturday. Read why below:

Greetings fellow Friars.

Today is a glorious day. A message from the President of Providence College was released this afternoon, which has declared, effective immediately, that sexual orientation and gender identity is now included in our institution’s non-discrimination policy.

What a victory indeed! We are celebrating the protection of human rights and the substantiation of faith in good will. We have been very pleased with the cooperation this administration has showed so far. They have proven that they are willing to engage with an active student voice.

We were never just hoping for academic freedom: we were fighting for it. And although we will not be demonstrating tomorrow please do not misunderstand this as the end of the fight. The administration responded by the 5:00 deadline, but their response included one third of the answers we sought. We will remain active, watching attentively and seeking the help of all Friars to fight, not hope, to achieve the vision of Providence that is beginning to coalesce into existence.

We wish you a very merry St. Dominic’s weekend.

May Veritas be with you,

-The Friarfighters-

Emanuele Abbrancati
Jeffrey Copland
Matthew Henry Smith
Omar Terrones
Nicholas Wallace
Anna E. Vechi
Kiley Leduc

Faculty Senate Action on Academic Freedom

Check out Faculty Senate Resolution 13-14-00-01 regarding the cancellation of Dr. Corvino’s lecture, academic freedom on campus, and the treatment of faculty by the administration.

“Whereas, the Providence College Administration:

  • cancelled an academic talk with no consultation with the organizer and used a non- existent college policy as justification;
  • publicly asserted that the organizing faculty member knowingly violated the non- existent policy;
  • publicly undermined the academic reputation of another faculty member without any consultation with said member as to her readiness to offer a response in the academic talk;
  • damaged the academic reputation of the college by portraying us as intolerant of our LBGTQQIAA students and unwilling to have an open discussion of these issues on campus;
  • by its actions have called into question academic freedom on this campus.

Resolved, the Faculty Senate demands the following:

  • that the PC Administration publicly retract their decision and restore the academic talk according to the best judgment of the organizer, Dr. Christopher Arroyo, and his sponsors;
  • that the PC Administration publicly apologize to Dr. Corvino;
  • that the Administration abide by the Faculty Handbook statement on academic freedom at Providence College;
  • that the Administration work to restore the academic reputation of Providence College and the reputations of Professors Christopher Arroyo and Dana Dillon.

-Faculty Senate, 10/2/13

A Demonstration for the Rights of Friars

Below is a statement from the group of students organizing Saturday’s demonstration:

At noon on Saturday, October 5th, the Providence College Community will be gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Ruane Center for the Humanities. A pall has been cast over this event in light of the Administration’s ongoing but recently highlighted inadequacies in recognizing, respecting and protecting the LGBT members of the Providence College Community.

Because of this shadow, faculty, students and alumni are invited to join together to stand in collective silence at this event to honor those who have been silenced by our administration.

Those who attend are invited to wear Providence College Apparel and black and white, our school’s colors, in an effort to support a spirited vision of a more inclusive campus. Bring with you a peaceful but impassioned attitude, respectful but poignant signs, and fellow Friars. We look forward to seeing you at this peaceful demonstration.

Please address further questions to Matthew Henry Smith.

A link to the peaceful and silent demonstration FaceBook page can be found here.

Revealing Error?

Posted this afternoon by Professor Tom King on the “Fighting For Academic Freedom” Facebook event page:

“With regard to academic freedom, the college just changed its policy for reserving a room on campus. A professor just tried to reserve a room for his honors colloquium, and received the following response: “I’ll be glad to book a room for your speakers. However, as a result of a meeting that I had earlier this week, we have to now ask who will be speaking and the general topic for any lecture event with a speaker.”

This is not the fault of the good folks those who take our reservations; this was an administrative decision made earlier this week.”

Posted by Professor Joe Cammarano, 5:27 PM:

“Turns out it was a mistake by an administrative staff. HOWEVER, it completely applies to anything related to rooms reserved outside of a specific class, including departmental programming. AND, as usual, the brunt of control is targeted at students trying to use classrooms for things that might be problematic…”

____________________________________________________________

Friarside wonders: have the events of this week prompted a quick and quiet beefing up of existing restrictions on student assemblies/activities? Was the administrative assistant’s mistake the result of a miscommunication of such a crack-down order? Is the administration operating under the same silence and closed-door protocol that to a large extent caused this controversy?

Dr. Corvino’s Latest Response

Dr. Corvino recently issued this response to PC’s “re-invitation” of his lecture. His full response can be found below.

Response to Providence College’s “Rescheduling” of My Event.

Yesterday evening I was informed that Providence College had “rescheduled” my event there—this time in the form of a debate with Sherif Girgis. The announcement was made in a statement from the provost.

The events of the last several days have been dizzying, and I would like to clear up the record on several matters.

First, on academic freedom, a concept that is easily distorted: I believe that a Catholic college—indeed, any college—has the right to choose speakers who comport with its mission. Obviously, academic freedom does not mean that I may speak wherever I want: I have to be invited.

I was invited to Providence College. On February 16 of this year Professor Christopher Arroyo, with the support of multiple departments, invited me to give a lecture on same-sex marriage, and we set a date for September 26. Last Saturday Provost Hugh Lena abruptly cancelled the lecture. So the concern here is not my academic freedom, but that of the nine Providence College department or program heads who were suddenly overruled by the provost, on the basis of a policy that he has since admitted is written nowhere. Moreover, Provost Lena decided that one of his own faculty members, Professor Dana Dillon, was unsuitable as a respondent for me. As Professor Fred Drogula, President of the Faculty Senate, pointedly asks, “Is the Administration henceforth to rule on whether and when each of us is prepared to speak in our areas of expertise?” (Drogula’s letter, which has been posted to Facebook, is worth reading in full.)

Second, notwithstanding the current spin from the Providence College administration, my event is not being rescheduled. It is being replaced with a different event.

In February I agreed that I would come to Providence to give a lecture, which would be followed by a Q&A period. Although Professor Arroyo and I had previously (last Fall) discussed the possibility of a debate, that idea was dropped for budgetary reasons. Then, just last week, I agreed to change the format so that I would have a lecture with an official respondent. Now, finally, I am being invited for adebate. These are three different kinds of academic events, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. I have plenty of experience with all three, and (as I’ve long said) I’d be happy to do a debate at Providence College. What I’m not happy to do is to aid the administration in the pretense that “the September 26 event was merely being postponed, not cancelled, until we could be sure that it went forward in the format in which it was originally proposed,” as Provost Lena’s statement said yesterday.

While it is possible that what was proposed to me and what was proposed to the administration were entirely different events, Professor Arroyo assures me that this is not the case.

Last, but certainly not least, there is the personal side to all this.

In his “rescheduling” statement yesterday, Provost Lena (quite rightly) apologizes to Professor Arroyo and Professor Dillon. As for me, he simply says that the decision to cancel “had nothing to do with Dr. Corvino.” But of course, I am the person whose visit he abruptly canceled, in an e-mail sent on Saturday to faculty. In two decades of public speaking, at over 200 college campuses, I have never felt quite so bounced around.

Yesterday a friend asked me how I was doing, and I responded that the media attention was exhausting. “Yes,” he pressed, “But how are you doing? You were uninvited to speak. That seems hurtful, even if not intentionally personal.”

The truth is that it’s difficult not to feel as if the Providence College administration regards me as a sort of virus, which might infect students if not blocked by some administration-approved surgical mask. This feeling is sadly familiar, to me and to any gay person. It is the malaise of the closet, the notion that some features of oneself are unspeakable. I am the Other. And if I feel that way, I can only imagine how young gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender Providence College students must feel. It is for them that I remain most concerned.

That’s where “damage control” should be focused right now: the personal harm to LGBT Providence College students, not to mention faculty, staff, and alumni. Pope Francis has called for a “new balance” in the Church’s pastoral ministry, and there is an opportunity—yet unrealized—to implement that balance here.

Remember to attend today’s event “Fighting For Academic Freedom” at 6:30 in ’64 Hall.

All Are Welcome: Thursday, 9/26. 6:30. ’64 Hall.

Join students, faculty, alumni, and other community members in open dialogue regarding recent events on campus. The event has been moved to ’64 Hall to accommodate a large number of participants.

Dialogue on the Meaning of (Gay) Marriage and Academic Freedom

’64 Hall – 6:30 pm

Ground Rules

§ Create and maintain a safe space.

§ Listen actively and respectfully.

§ Each person gets a chance to talk.

§ One person talks at a time. Don’t cut people off.

§ Speak for yourself, and not as the representative of any group.

§ If you are bothered by something that was said, say so, and say why.

§ It’s OK to disagree, but personal attacks are not allowed.

6:30 pm Welcome, Overview, and Student Testimonials

6:50 pm Small Group Conversations

  • Why is open and honest dialogue about gay marriage important to you? To the broader PC community?
  • How do we stay true to Providence College’s identity as a Catholic, liberal arts institution? Is this a matter of balance?
  • What are the challenges to having honest dialogues around this issue? How might we overcome these challenges? How can we prevent this from happening again in the future?
  • What should our next steps be, and what resources do we need to implement them? What do we want to see the administration do?

7:15 Large Group

  • Where do we go from here?

Friarside Chats applauds the organizers of this important event. Among the key organizers is our very own Nick Wallace. We thank everyone who will be attending for their participation and commitment to Providence College.

Public Statement From SHEPARD

Public statement from SHEPARD in response to the events of this week:

_____________________________________________________

Dear Members of the Providence College Community,

In light of recent events, we felt it prudent to address the entire Providence College community. For those of you who are unfamiliar with SHEPARD, (Stopping Homophobia Eliminating Prejudice and Restoring Dignity) we have existed uniquely at Providence College for ten years as the campus educational outlet for LGBT issues. As an educational outlet, we serve the entire campus community through events and weekly meetings that support and maintain the Friar Four: Contemplation and Communication, Integrated Learning, Cultural Competence and Human Flourishing. Over the past ten years we have been able to make great strides and effect positive change on campus. However, our ability to educate has been limited in the past.

At Providence College, the only resource available for LGBT students are the resources those students provide for themselves. We were ecstatic to find out that, our campus faculty was providing an academic resource for LGBT students and the community at large with a resource in the form of the academic presentation The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage. We were subsequently devastated when this resource was canceled.

At this time, we would like to express our gratitude to the faculty senate for their continued support. Last year, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution to include sexual orientation in the institution’s non-discrimination policy. While we wait for the Board of Trustees to rule on this resolution, we are optimistic about the dialogue that these recent events have generated. We look forward to a campus that is less polarized on this and other issues, and one that is more freely inquisitive and respectfully conversational. We see this academic conversation as an avenue for our community to get there.

We will remain here, as an outlet for all interested members of the PC community, long after conversations about this event have subsided.

Sincerely,

The SHEPARD Executive Board

Amanda Centrella ‘14, Caroline Jones ‘14, Kyle McCandless ‘14, Harper Rhodes ‘16, Matthew Henry Smith ‘16

A Message from the Provost

The complete email sent by Dr. Hugh Lena to all faculty and staff this Saturday. Students were not included in this distribution. Friarside Chats thinks that you ought to be able to read Dr. Lena’s announcement yourself.
_____________________________________________
From: “Lena, Hugh” <HLENA@providence.edu>
Date: September 21, 2013, 4:00:10 PM EDT
To: “pc-staff@lists.providence.edu” <pc-staff@lists.providence.edu>, “pc-faculty@lists.providence.edu” <pc-faculty@lists.providence.edu>
Subject: [PC-F] “The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage”

A Message from the Provost

“The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage,” a lecture by Dr. John Corvino, associate professor and chair of Philosophy at Wayne State University, which was scheduled for Thursday, September 26 and announced via email yesterday afternoon, has been cancelled.

While academic freedom is at the heart of teaching in a Catholic university, the United States bishops maintain that in accord with Ex corde ecclesiae: “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions” (Catholics in Political Life, USCCB, 2004).   When it comes to mission-sensitive issues, Providence College has always sought to provide a context which allows for open and honest debate, a forum where both sides of an issue are presented in accord with the ideal of a disputed question.    College policy therefore dictates that both sides of a controversial issue are to be presented fairly and equally when discussed in a forum such as this.  That was not the case with this proposed event.  The notice sent out yesterday mentioned that there would be a response to Dr. Corvino by Dr. Dana Dillon of the Providence College Theology Department.  However, it has come to my attention that Dr. Dillon was asked just yesterday afternoon to provide that response.  While I applaud Dr. Dillon for her willingness to present on such a complex and controversial topic, it is simply not fair to her to give her less than one week of preparation opposite someone who has been lecturing on this issue across the United States for years.

The organizer of the proposed event was aware of College policy, and discussed a balanced presentation on the issue with members of the College Administration as far back as January of this year.  However, the organizer did not dialogue with the Administration as to his plans, the event was not developed along the lines dictated by policy, and the organizer did not secure approval from the Administration for his final event prior to sending the campus-wide email.  As such, I have made the decision to cancel the event.

Dr. Hugh Lena