By Nick Swanson – [email protected]

Last week’s edition of “The Record” featured a story about how the administration had denied the request of the formation of a pro-choice club.

My initial reaction was why would the university prevent a group from being created? Then I remembered we are a private Catholic university where insistences of intolerance are not excepted. As we have seen, tolerance at this university was put to the test when the university fecklessly chose not to support or condemn a demonstration that occurred on the Link not so long ago.

I see this as the same response when the university denied the pro-choice club.

What harm could this club bring to the university? It is not as though the club is trying to overthrow the deeply held traditional beliefs of the Catholic Church. The club, like any other club at this university, is simply striving to have a voice on campus.

At a university which claims to be tolerant, they denied a group that only wants to have a voice. As a Republican, how can I not support the pro-choice club? It doesn’t matter whether I agree or disagree with their position, it is the premise that they should be able to have a club on campus where their voice is heard. The university does not have the audacity or the strength to stand up for what is right.

Alexis de Tocqueville, who some have called America’s public philosopher, stated, “the love and respect of your neighbors must be gained by a long series of small services, and a persistent habit of kindness.”

This quote embodies what this university should stand for. Those who believe differently than ourselves are our neighbors who must be respected. In fact, this university is contradicting the closely guarded beliefs of
Benedictine values as stated on the university’s website.

Under the Benedictine values section on the university’s website, Hospitality is listed as one of the Benedictine values that the university promotes.

As defined in the Benedictine values, Hospitality is “To offer warmth, acceptance and joy in welcoming others.” As a United States Citizen, as a Republican, as a St. John’s student, I find it quite detestable that this university has such a fluid policy when it comes to their deeply held ethos that they promote with such felicity.

Being a Republican, I am a minority on this campus. My beliefs have been thrown down by others and have at times, been publicly called out in class as simply wrong. I understand what the pro-choice club wants:
respect. As Pope Francis has said it is “better to be atheist than [a] hypocritical Catholic.”

If this university is going to promote the Benedictine values, it should uphold those values for all discourse, not just what they see fit.

This is the opinion of Nick Swanson, SJU first-year