An instructive lesson: What makes a university “Catholic”…


Academic administrators at the University of San Diego (USD) have offered what they believe is an instructive lesson—actually the second act in the drama titled “Inclusion and Diversity in U.S. Catholic Higher Education”—for knuckle-headed and knuckle-dragging Catholic Neanderthals who just don’t get what it means to be a truly Catholic university.


The instructive lesson is “PRIDE’s Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar2.”  The event, sponsored by USD PRIDE ( an organization of undergraduate students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and/or allies of the LGBTQ community) and approved by USD’s Office of Student Affairs, will take place on Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in USD’s Shiley Theater.

According to the USD Vice President of Student Affairs:

Similar to last year’s event, this show will be a combination of informative dialogue, campus resource offerings at information tables, and playful lip-synch performances designed both to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues surrounding gender identity and expression, and to underscore the importance of mutual respect and the dignity of each individual.

The show as scheduled violates neither the university’s mission nor any university policies. The Celebration of Gender Expression supports the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and does not promote either behavior or lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.

USD supports its students in their journey and defends their right to plan and carry out events that conform to the rules uniformly applied to all approved student activities at the university.

Last year, USD President Mary Lyons defended Supreme Drag Superstar1.  In a letter to USD’s Board of Trustees, President Lyons wrote that the event was “intended to foster students’ understanding of, and empathy for, the complexities of gender non-conformity.”  More importantly, President Lyons also cited California state law and the fact that other Catholic universities have hosted drag shows as reasons for USD to approve the show.

So, if President Lyons is to be believed, one of the identifying characteristics of a Catholic university is sponsoring a drag show to underscore the importance of mutual respect and the dignity of each individual as well as to celebrate gender expression, albeit “in a way that supports the Church teaching on the dignity of the human person.”


To pre-empt the anticipated negative response to Drag Superstar2, USD administrators have released a statement touting the event as “educational.”

Not true, at least according to a statement issued by the Concerned Catholic USD Students:

The drag show undermines the dignity of the human person by advancing an ideology that is contrary to the natural law, and ultimately perpetuates the deep wounds of gender confusion rather than bringing true healing.

What is it that USD administrators “get” about Catholic higher education that those knuckle-headed and knuckle-dragging Catholic Neanderthals who belong to Concerned Catholic USD Students “don’t get”?



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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.


  1. http://www.sandiego.edu/about/administration/biography.php?ID=321




    These are the salient administrators. The background of all but the last are a good deal less stereotyped than you might expect. (The last, the Vice President for Student Affairs and the one whose negligence in this matter is most acute, is a social worker). I doubt you would ever get a straight answer out of any one of them.

  2. Please help.
    Student Action is signing up petitioners. Goal is 10,000.
    With TAC approval, I would like to place their site below. Thank you in advance.


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