Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Students Protest Loyola Chicago for Canceling Classes Which Taught Students to Protest

A group of students at Loyola University Chicago who were taught how to protest in class are now protesting the University for discontinuing those classes, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A number of students enrolled in the Jesuit University’s master’s program in social justice and community development delivered speeches and waved signs which read "Who Is Loyola Loyal To?" in protest of a decision to discontinue the community development courses in which students learned social activism techniques.

"It’s really weird, frankly," student Sophia Vodvarka reportedly said. "I don’t think a lot of us really knew how to organize until we took these classes last semester."

Graduate Erin Kane, 27, told DNA Info Chicago, "I never thought the first time that I would be using these skills — all of these practical skills — I never thought I'd use them against the institution that gave them to me," she said.

Kane said the classes at Loyola helped her obtain her "dream job" with the United Methodist Church, where she reportedly works for women’s equality.

Brian Schmisek, director of Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), reportedly said, "The university is focusing on social justice, which is part of its core mission."

The courses will cease to be offered in June 2016.

According to the Chronicle, some students have indicated that they are concerned that the “interfaith emphasis” will be shuttled and the program will become “more narrowly focused on Catholic doctrine.”

 Vodvarka reportedly said it was "crazy" for Loyola, a Jesuit college, to cut the program.  "It saddens me," she reportedly said, that "Loyola would betray its students in this manner."

The protester’s website “Loyal to Justice” cites the university’s Catholic identity as a reason to continue the program.

“Community Development, according to Loyal to Justice, is aligned directly with Catholic Social Teaching and the Ignatian World View of higher education,” the group states. “Therefore, Loyal to Justice questions the integrity of IPS and the department’s lack of respect for the Ignatian Values that Jesuit Universities such as Loyola claim to uphold.”

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