Students, faculty protest despite Catholic universitys rollback on play cancellation

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

CINCINNATI (AP) Citing academic freedom, some 200 students, professors and others attended a protest rally even though Xavier University reversed a decision to bar performances of The Vagina Monologues.''

Michael Graham, president of the school, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Jesuit order, had canceled three performances but then allowed the play to proceed when an economics professor offered to include it in a class on gender issues.

Eve Ensler's drama celebrates female sexuality and has been banned at some Roman Catholic colleges for its frank language. The Cardinal Newman Society of Falls Church, Va., has led a campaign against performances on U.S. Catholic campuses.

Xavier protesters said allowing the performances did not ease concerns over Graham's earlier decision.

Even people who are not supportive of the play are up in arms because they're afraid it's going to set a precedent,'' said junior Lauren Gray.

The Faculty Assembly voted to ask Graham to reaffirm wording in the university mission statement about unrestricted free inquiry.

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