Gender Identity vs. Catholic Identity Face-Off After Title IX Expansions

source: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/gender-identity-vs.-catholic-identity-face-off-after-title-xi-expansions/

The federal government’s reinterpretation of Title IX to include ‘gender identity’ is generating concern on Catholic campuses.

 01/25/2016 Comments (43)

Some Marquette University professors say it is ‘very intimidating’ to speak about Catholic doctrine on sexuality in their classrooms.

– Flickr.com/photos/marquette

WASHINGTON — The federal government’s broadening interpretations of Title IX, the 1972 anti-sexual-discrimination statute that applies to educational institutions, has raised concerns that the freedom of Catholic colleges and universities to teach and govern themselves according to the Church’s teachings on sexuality is at risk.

At least five Catholic educational institutions are among a wave of Christian colleges and universities that have applied for Title IX exemptions, in the wake of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ expansion of Title IX’s interpretation to include “discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” These Catholic colleges and universities have argued that the new rule interferes with their ability to govern themselves in full accord with Catholic teaching.


There are also academic freedom concerns related to Catholic identity: At Marquette University, professors have complained that the aggressive implementation of Title IX’s expansive interpretations, combined with vague definitions of what constitutes a “hostile environment,” are suppressing their academic freedom to teach Catholic theology in the classroom and promote Marquette’s Catholic identity on campus.

According to the meeting minutes of Concerned Catholics at Marquette University that were provided to the Register, a number of faculty expressed concern that the new Title IX mandates being implemented at the Catholic institution “necessarily restrict the free exchange of ideas, particularly in theology and philosophy — the very core of Catholic, Jesuit education.”

The concerns were not limited to professors alone. One professor said some students shared they did not feel comfortable sharing Church teaching in that environment.


“This is the opposite of university education,” one professor at Marquette University, who declined to be identified for this article, told the Register. The professor said the university’s Title IX compliance on issues of gender and sexuality is dampening classroom discussion of Church teaching in these areas and throwing another wrench in ongoing efforts to strengthen the university’s Catholic identity and mission.

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