NEW: PC Provost Say Gay Prof Speech is Postponed Not Canceled
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
In a communication to the Providence College community, Hugh F. Lena, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, clarified the earlier discussion and announced that the presentation by a visiting professor in support of gay marriage has been postponed and not canceled.
The cancellation drew criticism from both gay marriage advocates and some student groups. The cancellation was also endorsed by some national Catholic groups. The following is the provost's message.
I wanted to update the campus community regarding the proposed event featuring Dr. John Corvino, a nationally-recognized proponent of same-sex marriage. As most of you know, that event was originally scheduled to take place tomorrow, September 26. I announced its cancellation this past Saturday, September 21. I want to let you know that the event is being rescheduled with Dr. Corvino and Sherif Girgis, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Princeton University and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Both individuals have agreed to the event and the likely date will be sometime in the spring semester. We will keep you apprised as soon as we have the details finalized.
The Administration’s decision to cancel the event had nothing to do with Dr. Corvino. We were concerned, rather, that the event had strayed from what had originally been proposed – a presentation of philosophical and legal arguments in support of same-sex marriage by Dr. Corvino opposite a presentation of opposing arguments by a similar person of national repute.
As most of you know, Dr. Dana Dillon, a highly respected and accomplished member of our Theology Department, was asked at the last minute to participate in the event. She graciously agreed to do so. However, the Administration felt that it was unfair to ask Dr. Dillon, a theologian, to debate opposite someone who would be presenting philosophical and legal arguments, not theological ones. Just as our cancellation of the original event had nothing to do with Dr. Corvino, neither did we mean to imply that Dr. Dillon was incapable of debating the issue. I apologize to Dr. Dillon if our intent was not clear or was misinterpreted in any way.
Along those same lines, I also want to apologize to Dr. Christopher Arroyo who was instrumental in working to organize the event and who continues to be engaged in its rescheduling. In hindsight, we should have announced that the September 26 event was merely being postponed, not cancelled, until we could be sure that it went forward in the format in which it was originally proposed.
I know that the events of the last few days have engendered a great deal of discussion on our campus, from alumni and friends of the College, and from the media. I hope most will agree that rescheduling the event as it was originally proposed is the proper course of action for the College to take.
Hugh F. Lena, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
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