The Sexist

Catholic University Bans Sex On Campus, Newspapers Discussing Sex on Campus

This week, Catholic University newspaper the Tower reported that the Washington City Paper would no longer be made available on the school's campus. In fact, the paper has been gone from the CUA campus since May 7th, the day that my story on CUA's campus sex ban, Screw U: Inside the Secret Sex Life of Catholic University, was published.

That morning, a very nice man who identified himself only as a CUA employee called to tell me that the university was removing the paper from the campus racks. "I just wanted to bring that to your attention and let you know that really sucks, because I know for a fact there are a lot of staff members and students that love to read your paper, and especially for this article," he said. " Again, love your work, awesome, thanks so much for throwing that out there, and, we got a really great chuckle for it. I hope you don't get in too much trouble. Take care of yourself."

The Catholic University administration was less amused.

Catholic University spokesperson Victor Nakas, whom I quoted extensively in the piece on the subjects of premarital sex, masturbation, and men kissing, explained the school's reasoning for removing the paper from campus. “These decisions were occasioned by the City Paper’s hateful article ridiculing our Catholic faith,” Nakas told the Tower. Some CUA students were moderately pissed about it, but they were dealing. “Whether or not that article was a true portrayal of students, we should be able to decide for ourselves whether or not it’s worth reading,” sophomore Joe McAnaney told the Tower. “It’s disappointing that I can’t just pick up the City Paper in the Pryz anymore, even though I understand the University’s decision.”

Oh, Catholic University, always banning things! Catholic University of America has banned sex, masturbation, pornography, and condom possession among unmarried students for years. Let's see how that's going for them: clandestine condom distribution, check; student center sex, check; healthy LGBT population (considering), check; masturbation, check; celebrity naked photos, check; girls sneaking into boys dorms, check; boys sneaking into girls' dorms, check; high-profile sexual assault case involving videotaped group sex in open CUA dorm room, check.

Unfortunately, college students prefer doin' it to reading alternative weekly newspapers. Or do they? Perhaps a good campus banning is just what the City Paper needed to catch on with the CUA crowd. By my calculations, the Washington City Paper should already be well on its way to becoming the new campus forbidden fruit, a taboo rag which CUA students will hide beneath their mattresses and transport secretly between dorm buildings by slipping it inside the pages of the Express. How can it be wrong when it feels so right?

Or, maybe they'll just read it online.

  • Sharkman

    The hypocrisy is absolutely stunning. This is a classic case of the argument for tolerance moving from a defensive tactic against an anti-lust/smut campaign into the offensive tactic of promoting the anti-chastity witch-hunt. Seriously, I am not sure whether I should laugh derisively or puke out my guts at the lack of reason, virtue or formed conscience or sense of goodness on display.

    Anything worthwhile is worth a sacrifice. This includes sexual RE-PRO-DUC-TION, the natural consequence of which is CHILDREN . . . who require a father and mother to continue to reproduce themselves in their children emotionally, cognitively, socially, morally and spiritually. Sex is not just about an orgasm, and I really wish that the narrow-minded, and unexamined selves of the modern age would get their head out of the gutter, "look up" and recognize that there is a God, and he made sex to be reproductive, enjoyable and UNITIVE. The pervy little lust crusade you preach gives only a temporary burst of pleasure that is far outweighed by the negative consequences of an activity made for, and properly exercised by a man and a woman in the lifetime commitment of marriage. You promote sex as an activity that makes men and women enemies in their selfish use of others for pleasure. When will you get it into your hormonally-saturated little brains that chastity is not about preventing sex, but about REALIZING it in its proper context. And not just in its proper context alone, either, but unto a greater and greater love, joy, peace and happiness that goes beyond the pleasure of the moment. This is what the Church stands for to the benefit of any and all with ears to listen.

    I challenge you to open your eyes and find a married couple with a husband and wife who respect each other enough to give themselves to each other rather than use each other for a thrill. You'll find men and women with a deeper love, not just for each other, but for all those around them. This is not true of those who live to chase tail. Tail-chasers are not only poorer in their ability to relate to their sex-partners, they are poorer in their relations to their friends and their families as well. Come on, peeps! Start makin' it real!

  • S

    "Look up" and recognize there is a God?

    Hate to break it to you, but for a good number of Americans, the "fact" of a Judeo-Christian God is simply a matter of opinion. Please use a different set of arguments when trying to sway people's opinions... because the very Christian Religious argument turns anyone minimally to not at all religious off (and all people outside of the Judeo-Christian culture). And there are a lot more of those people than you think.

    Second, the um, absolutely horrible attempt at "youth speak" further made your post completely not worth reading.

    I normally wouldn't post these things (we are, after all, on the Internet. No one wins on the Internet), but you are able to write coherently enough that it is a pity you can not formulate an argument that is worthwhile. Please, if you care for your cause (and I think you do), learn a little patience and write in a way that actually reaches, rather than alienating, people.

  • TJ

    There are a couple of issues with Sharkman's argument, but I understand where he is coming from. This is a catholic school, so it makes sense that they are going to have some pretty strict (and IMHO, asinine) rules in place. However, Amanda's point (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that the only reasoning for the rules is that "the Bible tells us so." Unfortunately, in the world that we live in, that is not a good enough argument anymore. Just like everything else in the world, things evolve, and so should the university. The point that I gathered from this blog was that the kids are going to have sex whether the administration likes it or not. Banning condoms on campus is not a way to ensure that they are not going to have sex... it's only going to 1) help them to have unprotected sex, or 2) make them go off campus to get their condoms.

    To make a long story short, the point is that the school has to start getting real. Saying that sex is not allowed is not much of a rule they can enforce without having real dialogue to go with it.

  • Pingback: Hydrants, Hydrants Everywhere: Loose Lips Daily - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Former Staffer

    I'm also a former Catholic. And censorship and intolerance beyond the scope of their dogma is exactly why I left "the Church"...stupid medieval archaic form of governance which has little to no place in a modern democratic society.

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    you don't have to AGREE with catholic u's decision or the dogma behind it, but it remains their fundamental RIGHT to exercise it as a private institution, period.

    shame on THEM for standing by their "asinine" rules and "archaic form of governance?"

    more like shame on YOU for judging them.

  • Mindy C

    Hey Spade,

    Uhm - it is their fundamental right to do as they please...but there is no shame for judging them. They are clearly judging others who have unprotected sex, but because they have religion to back them up, we have to feel ashamed?

    Judging is judging - no matter what. And no one is JUDGING them for removing the paper and ceasing sexual activity on their campus. It was simply stated that people will read the paper and have sex regardless of whether or not the University removes access or "the right to do so" from the campus.

    But that's been going on for hundreds of years, and it never stopped someone from making a law or denying access anyways. *shrug*

  • Mrs, D

    Actually, the original piece on Catholic's "sex ban" was at least partially spurred by the fact that, under Catholic's student codes, a consensual sex act and a sexual assault were pretty much so treated the same. While the article did consider Catholic's other "sex policies" like banning condoms and visitation policies, that was mostly used to illustrate that people are still having consensual sex, many times with condoms, regardless of what the rules say.

    This posting refers to Catholic's banning of the WCP, not so much the sex and condoms bit. Fine, Catholic doesn't want condoms on campus, or wants to make consensual sex a violation of the student code, it's not very effective, but those are the rules the students agreed to live by. Banning a newspaper that calls into question the necessity and efficacy of those rules is a whole different ball game. Typical of fundamentalist christians, still used by the modern catholic church, it's akin to putting blinders on the followers. If you don't tell them that someone thinks their policies are out of whack, they'll never know the policies are anything but perfect. If you never let them hear a dissenting voice, they'll never question. THAT is what's truly wrong in this scenario. Indoctrinate someone into something, and you've succeeded in brainwashing them; allow them to make a free and fully informed choice, now your changing hearts and minds. The fact that many churches prefer the former tactic is what turns so many of us off from organized religion.

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    Mindy: "no one is JUDGING them for removing the paper..."

    "... stupid medieval archaic form of governance..." | name-calling? classy. funny, that sounds like a JUDGMENT to me.

    "... that is not a good enough argument anymore." | personal opinion =/= objective fact. hey look, another JUDGMENT call.

    and don't be so quick to assume that catholic u folks will read the city paper regardless of whether it's on the CUA campus or not. in the face of falling subscriptions across the board (not to mention the CP's bankruptcy in 2008), losing convenient access to even the most casual of some 5000+ college-aged readers certainly can't sit well with the City Paper brass.

    sounds to me like somebody's just stirring the pot in hopes to keep their precious (and dying) print edition afloat a little while longer...

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    and Mrs. D -

    when a "news"paper presents its argument against a faith, a school, or its policies in an article loaded with ad-hominems and expletives, perhaps you can understand the school's decision not to treat such a publication with any real degree of respect or esteem.

    "alternative" though the CP may be, keep the discourse professional and you'll likely find a more receptive audience accordingly. much easier to "change hearts and minds" with honey, ya' know.

  • Mindy C

    @Spade - your argument is countered by the inclusion of "people will read it on the web." Clearly the author understands that changes are upon us. How many other institutions are that level-headed about change?

    And who is to say whether or not people WILL decide to read it once it's no longer on campus. Your argument against is just as logical as my argument for.

    Bah - you are clearly in it to argue and be contrary, no matter what is being said.

  • Former Staffer

    Hey as a former Catholic I can judge however I want. They've already judged that I'm going to hell, I may as well make earth a little rougher on them for their "dicktates".

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    @Mindy - me, contrary? negative. merely stating the facts.

    the CP author was clearly spoiling for a fight... and on an easy target, no less ("oh those craaaazy catholics!") the tone of both CP articles makes it clear that *i* am hardly the only one "in it to argue." the CP columns aren't arguing, they're mocking. shame of it is? they actually had a point in there.

    bottom line: right or wrong, a private institution has every right to its own beliefs. and when an outside party openly mocks said institution on the grounds of such beliefs -- the private institution has every right to show that outside party the door to save themselves the headache.

    @Staffer - as a "former Catholic," you of all people should know that the catholic teaching on the matter is pretty clear: neither God nor the Church condemns man to hell. rather, man himself condemns by his own actions.

    in all seriousness, don't let some uptight cadre of holy rollers dissuade you. believe what you will, and live the best life you can accordingly. while i certainly understand your disillusionment, mocking and name-calling an institution that many people hold sacred just makes you look small and bitter, and not worth the argument.

    same goes for the CP -- keep the discourse above the belt, and you wouldn't have run into this problem in the first place. heck, you might even affect a real, positive change. or at the very least, an informed conversation from both sides.

    but then again, such an approach would hardly be as effective in generating hits for the web site, now would it?

  • Magnetic Crow

    Honestly,did you even READ the original article? Your reaction to it brings me to believe that you did not (or that you did not comprehend it fully).
    Please go read (or re-read)before filling any more comment-space with your undirected anger.

  • Amanda Hess

    "sounds to me like somebody’s just stirring the pot in hopes to keep their precious (and dying) print edition afloat a little while longer"

    I mean, this is obviously true.

    "keep the discourse above the belt, and you wouldn’t have run into this problem in the first place. heck, you might even affect a real, positive change. or at the very least, an informed conversation from both sides."

    I'm sorry, but you can't talk about sex without going below the belt. This is what Catholic University has repeatedly attempted to do. They banned sex and sexual assault in the vaguest terms possible---in the same sentence, actually---and refused to address big problems on campus because they CAN'T TALK ABOUT SEX. I can talk about sex, and I can even have a little bit of fun with it, which is what I hope CUA students do. That's what college is for!

  • Civil Rights Attorney

    Y'all really did ridicule a small private religious college and the faith of an overwhelming majority of it's members. I'm not at all catholic, and even I found the orig. article to be openly hostile, and worse... to miss the boat completely.

    There could have been an interesting story in whether a small religious college can create a learning community that isn't as sexualized as your average college.

    There could have been a story with why a school like that would tolerate that asshole who gets lurid in random places. Unless he looks like young Jude Law, none of us want to see that. How's that different from bringing pork in the synagogue? Or guns to the zen center? Or preachiness to the CityPaper office?

    But really y'all completely miss the boat on the contract matter. Condemning sex and rape in the same sentence does not establish "treating sex and rape the same." Only a review of the consequences would establish that. Your article (though of limited aid in that regard for sampling size), establishes just the opposite--the gang rapists vs. the sex in random places guy.

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    "I’m sorry, but you can’t talk about sex without going below the belt."

    well maybe *you* can't. but then again, this is precisely why you work for the CP and not the Washington Post.

    here, let me show you how it's done:

    "catholic u should recognize the difference between consentual sexual activity and forceable sexual assault, and their written policy should reflect that difference. while they certainly have the right as a private institution to legislate against sexual behavior and premarital relations if they so choose, they are doing their students a real disservice by being so offhanded and vague with regards to their written policy on these matters."

    there. that wasn't so hard, now was it?

    again, if you'd toned down the smarm, you might have actually "changed some hearts and minds" and raised a coherent dialogue. instead, you're only preaching to the same disillusioned choir. and once this latest flap-up dies down and trolls like me fade back into the woodwork, you will have only succeeded in a loss of broader credibility and readers alike -- something the City Paper can ill afford.

  • TJ

    Spade, I can definitely see how a catholic would be insulted by some of the language used. However, this is a blog, and blogs are created so that the author can voice his/her opinions and we as readers can voice ours. If you have read some of Amanda's blogs in the past, you'll see that snarkiness is a part of her style. Don't like her style? Don't read her blogs. But just like CUA doesn't have to change their rules, Amanda doesn't have to "tone down the smarm."

    NOW! Mrs. D, you made an extremely valid point. We live in a world where information is all around us. Just because the school took the paper off their campus doesn't mean that the information is all of a sudden gone off the planet. Are they blocking CP website as well? Or, are the students not allowed to leave the campus? I'm sure they could go up the street for a copy of the paper. It just seemed like the administration banned the paper for appearances.

  • alumni

    You know what I haven't had in a while? Big League Chew.

  • Hey, That’s a Spade

    @TJ you're absolutely right on all accounts.

    i'm not saying that the author should tone it down overall (her blog, her rules -- love it or leave it. no problem with that whatsoever). i'm merely pointing out that for all her headline-making bombast and bluster, if she ever wants to be a true agent for change outside of the close-knit sphere of her blogosphere faithful, she would be well-served to temper her rhetoric to a style where it would be better received by a broader audience.

    if not, she's only tooting her own horn. or worse, preaching to the choir.

  • CP employee

    in reply to:
    "and don’t be so quick to assume that catholic u folks will read the city paper regardless of whether it’s on the CUA campus or not. in the face of falling subscriptions across the board (not to mention the CP’s bankruptcy in 2008), losing convenient access to even the most casual of some 5000+ college-aged readers certainly can’t sit well with the City Paper brass"

    City Paper is a free paper, not subscription and our readership has not budged since May when the papers were removed from campus. Those few hundred or so papers that were on campus were relocated so no readership lost there. We are, if you did not know, now out of bankruptcy and doing just fine both in print, and, on our ever growing on line audience.

  • Benjamin

    The Catholic University is making a mockery of my degree. I got a job because I attended summer classes at georgetown and began full time interning while supposedly attending 18 credits a semester for a politics degree.
    People I graduated with regularly ask for advice and send me resumes. All of these arguments are nonsensical until that college can be considered a serious institution.