Under the leadership of Dr. Fred K Drogula the Providence College’s Faculty Senate has passed a resolution by “an overwhelming majority” that takes to task Provost Hugh Lena’s recent cancellation of LGBTQ advocate and philosopher John Corvino’s scheduled talk at the college.
The resolution is a stirring defense of academic freedom, free inquiry, and LGBTQ person’s rights and dignity. The resolution reads:
Whereas, the Providence College Administration: cancelled an academic talk with no consultation with the organizer and used a non- existent college policy as justification;
publicly asserted that the organizing faculty member knowingly violated the non- existent policy:
publicly undermined the academic reputation of another faculty member without any consultation with said member as to her readiness to offer a response in the academic talk;
damaged the academic reputation of the college by portraying us as intolerant of our LBGTQQIAA students and unwilling to have an open discussion of these issues on campus;
by its actions have called into question academic freedom on this campus.
Resolved, the Faculty Senate demands the following: that the PC Administration publicly retract their decision and restore the academic talk according to the best judgment of the organizer, Dr. Christopher Arroyo, and his sponsors;
that the PC Administration publicly apologize to Dr. Corvino;
that the Administration abide by the Faculty Handbook statement on academic freedom at Providence College;
that the Administration work to restore the academic reputation of Providence College and the reputations of Professors Christopher Arroyo and Dana Dillon.
I recently called Providence College to task over this cancellation, publicly questioning whether or not an institution can be both religiously orthodox and maintain a dedication to free inquiry. Some objected to my analysis, suggesting that I was being religiously intolerant.
The passed resolution champions academic freedom over religious orthodoxy and in doing so seeks to refute the implication that Providence College’s professors are not up to the task of presenting cogent, scholarly arguments. I am glad to report that Providence College Faculty Senate has chosen to defend a “well rounded” over a “religious” education.