By Ally Nelson
The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University do not currently support or allow a pro-choice club on either campus. There have been multiple attempts at creating one, but the administration has denied it every time. Although there is a pro-life club at CSB/SJU, students of differing views are not granted a voice.
Everyone deserves a voice, whether they are pro-choice, pro-life, or unsure of their position. The Benedictine values clearly state Listening as one of the pillars: “To hear keenly and sensitively the voices of persons and all created beings” (csbsju.edu). Another one of the values that stands out is Respect for Persons: “To respect each person regardless of class, background, or professional skill”. CSB/SJU fully promotes both the Catholic and Benedictine traditions, but it seems that in some circumstances these values are ignored.
There is currently no supportive organization at CSB/SJU for students who are
concerned with women’s choice in reproductive health and rights. As a liberal arts university, we should encourage dialogue and conversation both inside and outside the classroom.
Last year in “A letter from the president: To take a stance for St. John’s or not” President Hemesath stated, “I believe that when St. John’s takes an
institutional position on any issue, we run the real risk of stifling debate on campus and within our community” (The Record, 2017). He continued by explaining, “There can be no more harmful action at an educational institution than to do something that limits, or even risks limiting, the freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas” (The Record, 2017). President Hemesath voiced the opinion that St. John’s should not take a stance on political or social issues, yet CSB/SJU is not held to this standard when regarding a pro-choice club.
As journalist Krista Tippett said, “Compassion is not necessarily about agreeing with somebody else. It is about making a choice to honor their humanity.”
I call on you, the Bennie and Johnnie student body, to be compassionate. Support the voices of your fellow students and the formation of a pro-choice club.
This is the opinion of Ally Nelson, CSB junior