Sunday, December 21, 2014

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NPR Joins Biased Campaign Against Franciscan University

The Franciscan University of Steubenville was unfairly slapped Monday with a biased National Public Radio (NPR) report citing complaints from two homosexual alumni who graduated more than a decade ago.

As reported by The Cardinal Newman Society last week, a group calling itself Franciscan University Gay Alumni and Allies issued a news release questioning why a sociology course titled “Deviant Behavior” lists homosexuality among the discussion topics. The University explained that “deviant” is a sociological term and not intended to offend anyone; moreover, Franciscan University is committed to upholding Catholic teaching, which describes homosexuality as a morally “disordered” inclination.

Now NPR has published an extremely biased report, claiming that the University “links homosexuality with crimes like murder, rape and robbery” simply because all those behaviors—as well as alcoholism and heterosexual deviance—are discussed during the “Deviant Behavior” course. NPR presents no evidence that the course “links” these behaviors as having comparable characteristics, causes or consequences.

NPR contacted The Cardinal Newman Society for comment, but we declined to be interviewed, expecting a biased report—and we were right. We provided the following statement, which was not cited in the article:

The Franciscan University of Steubenville is known for its loving, caring community which fully embraces Catholic teaching. We wish that more Catholic universities would stand by their Catholic mission.

The NPR article by reporter Jeff Brady, headlined “College Lumps Homosexuality, Rape, Murder,” quotes complaints from 1991 alumna Elizabeth Vermilyea and 1990 alumnus Gregory Gronbacher, who repeats the mantra that Franciscan University puts homosexuals “in the same category as murderers.”

Brady quotes an official at the Council on Social Work Education and reports that “Franciscan University now faces questions from the group that accredits its social work program.” But it’s not clear whether the accreditor is asking questions, or was it Brady who approached the accreditor hoping to report more trouble for the University? The official’s statements do not, in fact, indicate that accreditation is in serious jeopardy.

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