A very distressing story has been developing at
There are a number of highly troubling issues here. One basic one is that it seems pretty unfair to spring this policy decision on a student in the spring, when most employment decisions are made. (Though, presumably the Public Interest office was able to help the student in question receive outside funding.) It also seems to come completely and entirely out of the blue. Like many avowed pro-choice liberals, I applied to Georgetown Law, and strongly considered attending it. One of the reasons was that it actually is a place where liberal ideals of public service are actively fostered. The Law Center employs some top progressive legal thinkers, including Lawrence Gostin, David Vladeck and Chai Feldblum (and until his recent passing, Father Robert Drinan- former Congressman, Roman Catholic priest, and pro-choice). At no point would a student have any reason to think that their career options would be vetted by the “Jesuit heritage” of the school. I was actually just at Georgetown Law last week, where the school’s Outlaws group hosted a luncheon for law students lobbying against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This school does not give the impression of one concerned with adhering to the Catholic Church’s teachings as much as supporting a new generation of lawyers in their pursuit of justice.
The second major concern is how far does this seemingly new “policy” go. If GULC prohibits its students from funding work in reproductive rights, will it prohibit funding of gay rights work as well? Though Alenikoff refers to abortion as part of the institutions “core identity”, abortion is mentioned fewer times in the bible than homosexuality is. Further,
In the end, I can’t think that this decision would do anything to help Georgetown Law in the long-run. When career choices are effectively censored because of religious dogma, that censorship permeates the entire academic institution. The majority of Georgetown Law students, from my own informal but detailed knowledge, are pro-choice, and pro- a lot of other things the Catholic Church might disagree with. Georgetown Law’s reputation as a top law school has little to do with dogma, and a lot to do with its historical emphasis on public service. Actions like this may deprive
Labels: 14th Amendment