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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

St. Joseph’s University affirms offer to Santorum

By James M. O’Neill Knight Ridder Newspapers (KRT) LOWER MERION, Pa. _ St. Joseph’s University trustees Friday reaffirmed an invitation to embattled Sen. Rick Santorum to speak at commencement next month, despite opposition from faculty and a rare campus protest by students. About 125 students, along with several priests and faculty, protested silently on campus Friday, holding signs that said “Not @ my graduation” and “Senator Santorum does not represent the best in us,” as the trustees’ executive committee discussed the invitation issued back in January and an honorary degree the school plans to bestow on the senator. Santorum, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, engendered controversy last week when he equated gay sex with polygamy, incest and adultery and called homosexuality “antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.” Santorum is Catholic, and his controversial comments seemed to follow Catholic teaching. The church teaches that gays should be treated with respect, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and morally wrong. In his controversial remarks, Santorum said, “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.” Still, the protesters at St. Joseph’s, a Catholic institution, said Santorum’s comments offended. “He does not seem to represent the values of our university,” said junior Kera Walter. Many students at the Jesuit university said class discussion is routinely woven with lessons about the importance of social justice and of making the campus welcoming to all people, no matter their ethnicity or sexual orientation. They said Santorum’s comments did not reflect that call to openness. Senior Guy Palumbo said that while a college campus is meant to foster an open exchange of conflicting viewpoints, commencement is different. “Having an extremist from the left or the right speak and politicize commencement is inappropriate,” he said. The Rev. H. Cornell Bradley, a Jesuit and campus minister, stood in solidarity with the students. “Graduation is a celebration for the students, and to have a controversial speaker interferes with that,” he said. “The attention would be taken away from the students’ achievement.” St. Joseph’s spokesman Joseph Lunardi emerged from the trustees’ two-hour meeting, acknowledging the controversy but saying the trustees chose not to rescind Santorum’s invitation. Lunardi said the trustees thought they should remain consistent with the school’s commitment to openness. “We’re trying to send a message that all views are welcome here, regardless of their popularity,” Lunardi said. “This many not be a popular path, but if we stand for tolerance, we can’t be intolerant of anyone, and we hope all involved will keep that in mind.” The trustees also suggested in a statement that an academic forum, rather than commencement, is the more appropriate setting for public-policy debate. Santorum spokeswoman Erica Clayton Wright said that Santorum was on a “private schedule” for the weekend, and that she could not comment on the St. Joseph’s decision. Top administrators at St. Joseph’s generated a list of possible graduation speakers earlier this year, and a director of student life then polled some students about the list. An Irish tenor outpolled Santorum, but when the singer was unavailable for the May 18 graduation, the invitation was offered to the senator. Santorum’s invitation generated opposition even before his comments about gays. Earlier this semester, some faculty expressed their displeasure, arguing that Santorum’s support for capital punishment and for the Iraq war clashed with Catholic teaching and Pope John Paul II’s statements on both issues. Commencement speakers frequently become lightning rods for protest. In 1999, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen withdrew as commencement speaker at Villanova University because of objections to her support of abortion rights. Quindlen said she did not want to “ruin the day or cast a shadow” on the graduation ceremony. This spring, Holy Cross College in Massachusetts is under fire from some key alumni and benefactors for its decision to grant an honorary degree to Philadelphia native and television commentator Chris Matthews because of Matthews’ support for abortion rights, which counters Catholic teaching. ___ Knight Ridder staff writer Mark Schogol contributed to this article. ___ ‘copy 2003, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer’s World Wide Web site, at http://www.philly.com/ Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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