From Kaitlynn Riely and Ann Rodgers, of the P-G:
Holding signs that said "We don't bite" and "Support reason," about 20 students from three universities gathered Thursday in Uptown to protest Duquesne University's refusal to recognize a proposed secular student group.Rick Wills of the Trib goes a bit broader:
Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh have secular, or atheist, student organizations. Last month, Duquesne senior Nick Shadowen petitioned his student government to create a similar society.
"I think it's important to have a secular group at any university, religious or not," he said. "Anyone who has been paying attention to current events or the news recognizes that religion is a serious topic, and I think it's the job of any university to allow open debate about serious issues, and to have a real debate you need two sides."
An atheist student at Catholic-run Duquesne University is upset the school won't recognize the Duquesne Secular Society, a group for nonbelievers he helped form.Looks like the good folks at Duquense see the DSS differently from how the DSS sees itself. From the Trib:
"I know Duquesne is a Catholic school," said Nick Shadowen, 21, a senior philosophy major who grew up in Harrisburg. "I did not think that meant my opinions, my lack of belief in God, would be censored. They advertise the fact that they are a diverse and international university with all kinds of people studying and working there."
Duquesne's student government oversight committee this month rejected Shadowen's request for the school to give formal recognition to the atheist group, and university officials backed that decision. Shadowen and other nonreligious students from area universities protested outside Duquesne on Thursday.
Shadowen insists the secular society's mission is not contrary to the school's.This seems to be somewhat in conflict from what Duquesne spokeswoman, Bridget Fare:
"Our group is not meant to spread atheist propaganda or undermine the mission of the school," he said.
One purpose of the group would be to dispel stereotypes about atheists, said society member Colin Stragar-Rice, 20, of New Castle, a junior at Duquesne.
"The group would allow a lot of students to come into contact with a different point of view. We also want to remove the stigma nontheistic people face," he said.
"All students are certainly welcome here. But formally recognizing a student group whose main purpose is opposition to belief in God is not aligned with our mission. The purpose of those other groups is not in direct opposition to belief in God," Fare said.I guess that all depends on how you define the word "welcome."
As I wrote a few days ago, you'd would think that a religious university would want to encourage dialog between the believers and non-believers in its community - if only to give the believers ample opportunity to convince the sad, naive apostates of the error of their atheistic ways. You'd think that a University founded by the Spiritans, a religious organization that was itself founded according to the Catholic Enclopedia:
...for the purpose of preparing missionaries for the most abandoned souls, whether in Christian or pagan countries....would jump at the opportunity for that sort of dialog.