Decision about abortion statue should belong to community

Jackie Stanus

There are certain ethical, moral and religious issues/values that will remain divided among the masses. The United States of America, however, is unified under what many countries fail to enjoy – freedom. This may sound obvious, but some people have forgotten this basic principle. Taking away belief in a multi-partisan system and bestowing a single party’s viewpoint on a controversial issue such as abortion does not seem ethical or healthy for this flourishing economy. The act of abortion in itself may or may not be ethically permissible; yet this feeling must remain in the minds of those who passionately feel this way and not out in the open of a community who is clearly divided 50/50 on this issue.

It has come to my attention that a $20,000, marble statue for the “victims of abortion” is going to be placed on South campus in April 2006. Not only was this news found by my own searching, but its message was abrupt and very much under the radar. A University is supposed to be an institution of diversity, higher learning and community. Villanova, indeed, is a Catholic university and holding such a standard, communal education should be its primary focus. Throughout my tenure at Villanova, I have agreed to take all the required theology courses, and, in so doing, I have learned a great deal about the Catholic religion. Moreover, I came to this school on the good faith that Catholicism would not be imposed upon me in such a way that has the capacity to be hurtful or suppressive to my own convictions. Being a Catholic, I respect all of the viewpoints of Catholicism, but I am also tolerant and even supportive of the other beliefs on campus.

It would be misleading to say that Villanova is not a prosperous and lucrative University. Many Villanova alumni still support their college by giving back via monetary contributions. This is apparent to me through my job as a telemarketer for the Villanova Annual fund. In two years’ time, after I graduate, I plan to be one of these active alumni. I will not, however, grant money for more statues which clearly have no affect on the education that Villanova students receive. Conversely, I will support causes such as books for the library, scholarships, the building of new academic institutions and the like. Things like these are why alumni give back – for Villanova students to excel academically. Alumni want to be proud of their school and boast about the achievements that have been made. This is not to say that universities should not have any luxuries because, sure, luxuries are the things that catch the eyes of passersby and prospective students. However, a luxury should be something from which every student can benefit: for instance, better food or longer coffee shop and gym hours; things that are conducive to a college student’s “insomniac” lifestyle.

The beauty of this campus, the good reputation and the sense of community are just a few of the things that hooked me to Villanova. I feel that with such a controversial statue as the one for the abortion victims (I cringe writing the word “victims”), the school’s sense of oneness will be lost. Clearly, I am pro-choice on the abortion issue, but this letter is not being written to force my belief on anyone; it is to show that I, as well as many other students (pro-life and pro-choice), have tolerance and respect for the different views that permeate this campus.

The creation of this statue is not only disrespectful to others, but it is allowing for widespread debate that can undoubtedly be avoided. Villanova should be giving to people who need help. For example, $20,000 can go a long way in underdeveloped countries or the hurricane relief project in New Orleans. If the Villanovans for Life are serious about their cause and truly want to make an impact, they should direct the money toward a family who chooses to save their child rather than abort it. In this way, a prospective mother will be rewarded for her efforts to be a responsible caretaker rather than a so-called “murderer.” Villanova has the capacity to impact lives outside of its own community. I feel that an opportunity to show the influence that Villanova can have elsewhere should be seized.

As a concerned student, I feel that the institution of this statue should be reconsidered and, likewise, approved by the entire Villanova community, rather than just a select group of supporters of this cause. I am aware that the funding for this statue is going to be done via fundraisers and not directly through Villanova’s annual fund, yet I still feel that it will spark controversy among alumni as well as attending students. This article is not an attack on the Villanovans for Life, but rather an invitation to settle this matter over a respectful discussion in which the entire Villanova community can engage.

A portion of this University’s mission statement explicitly states, “Villanova encourages communication among all the elements of the academic community.” My question is, when did this part of the University’s mission expire?