According to its mission statement, Loyola Marymount University is “institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism.” However, some university policies are inconsistent with traditional Catholic teachings.
The LMU Student Health Center does not provide any form of contraception to students. University policy prohibits students from gaining access to birth control, condoms and Plan B via the university. However, the university does offer abortion advocacy internships.
LMU also offers LGBT Student Services. When LGBTSS at LMU was founded, one Catholic news site, Life Site News, contacted LMU’s administration to clarify the goals for LGBTSS. In response, LMU said that it would be focusing on “counseling a life of celibacy to the LGBT community” because “the Catholic Church recognizes only marriage between a man and a woman.” According to the LMU LGBTSS website, “The LGBT Student Services Office at LMU focuses on promoting equality, visibility and inclusion of LGBT students within the LMU community.” This is a vastly different statement than LMU’s statements made to Life Site News.
While some Catholic universities do not allow LGBT speakers on campus, LMU does. In 2016, LMU provided space to a group of “LGBTQ/SSA Mormons, their families, friends and church leaders” for a conference. The event included several LGBT rights advocates. When Catholic news site The Newman Society reached out to LMU with inquiries, LMU’s Conference Services webpage was edited to remove any reference to the University’s Catholic mission.
Previously, a statement on the page read, “Each new group who visits our campus must be approved by the university administration to ensure it supports the mission of the university.” But now, there is no mention of LMU’s mission statement on the page, and the sentence that mentioned support for LMU’s mission was changed to, “All events are subject to university approval.” It seems that LMU does not want to take a stance on whether or not LGBTSS aligns with the mission of the university. This contributes to the muddying of LMU’s identity.
LMU’s own professors have expressed concerns about LMU’s Catholic identity. Philosophy professor Dr. Christopher Kaczor wrote in an article for Catholic World Report that LMU is on track to lose its Catholic identity within a generation due to the declining number of Catholic professors. Concern about LMU’s growingly ambiguous Catholic identity is present both internally and externally.
Plain and simple, LMU needs to be honest. Open discussion is the only way that LMU can set an example for its students in how to truly to advance a mission in “the service of faith and promotion of justice” as our mission statement calls us to. While it might be easier for LMU to endorse some messages and stay silent regarding others, we need to hold our university to a standard of consistency and know what our university really stands for. LMU’s highest values should be reflected in all university policies.
Full story at www.laloyolan.com.