Fox Writes About University Gender Guide

Lauren Kourey, Staff Writer

In the last days of August, released an article by Emma Colton commenting on Villanova University’s new “gender inclusive guide” for the 2022-23 school year. The new guide calls attention to the importance of providing a gender inclusive environment for students and staff in their classrooms, workspaces and laboratories, “especially for those who identify within transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming and/or gender questioning communities.”


Some suggestions from the University’s new guide for faculty members include adding a Gender Inclusion Statement to class syllabi, correcting oneself immediately if accidentally misgendering someone or correcting others when misgendering occurs. 


John Monaco, a Catholic commentator, was interviewed by Fox News for his stance on the release of Villanova’s new guidance.


“Unfortunately, this is just another episode of a Catholic university nodding along to the zeitgeist,” Monaco said, referencing the University’s new gender inclusive recommendations. 


The sources included in the article, such as quotes from the Book of Genesis, outline the ways in which they believe Villanova’s new guide contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.


Colton quotes Monaco as saying, “it is nothing short of astonishing that Villanova University does not simply tolerate gender ideology, but actively promotes it. Catholic bishops and universities should be leading the way in instructing a confused world in the truth of human sexuality. But unfortunately, many of them have simply yielded to the spirit of the age, betraying their divine mission, and leading souls astray.” 


Soon after the article was published on Fox News’s website, the University administration responded swiftly, responding, “Villanova upholds and maintains the Catholic Church’s teaching that all people are accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Calling someone by their name and pronouns is a show of respect for them as a person and fellow Villanovan.” 


The University’s public statements remind the community that inclusivity is an integral part of Catholicism. When the University was prompted further about its reaction to the article, a spokesperson commented,  “the role of a university, particularly a Catholic, Augustinian one, is to care for its community members in mind, body and spirit. Catholic universities should lead the way in promoting the care of those who are at risk of harm.” 


“It’s not controversial to say trans students attend Villanova and that trans people work here. That’s just true, and we’re all better off because of it,” said Travis Foster, Academic Director for Villanova University’s Gender & Women’s Studies Department.


Foster helped to write the new University guidelines after requests for resources were coming in from staff and students to make their classrooms more inclusive. In the past year, especially as Villanovans return to campus post-COVID, many faculty members approached the Gender & Women’s Studies Department and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, asking for advice on how to create a learning environment where all of their students would feel comfortable. Foster stressed that no new policy has been introduced, but the guide is merely filled with gender inclusive recommendations. 


The University’s administration continues to remind its campus community members of its core Augustinian values: “Such moments [of outside criticism] invite us to be who we claim we are and to practice the values we hold: pursuing truth through dialogue across difference (Veritas), sharing a commitment to one another (Unitas) and deep care for all, particularly those most often overlooked (Caritas).”