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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    USF cancels master's program in theology, and some aren't pleased

    An interesting situation in San Francisco about the Catholic identity of their Jesuit university:
    The University of San Francisco has canceled its master's in theology program, provoking a bitter disagreement about what it means for the future of the university.

    Some faculty, alumni and students connected to the program say the university is losing the graduate degree most closely linked with its Jesuit Catholic mission. They say the closure is the culmination of a series of actions eroding the institution's Catholic identity.

    But USF President Stephen Privett, a Jesuit priest for 38 years, said such broad statements misconstrue the nature of the university as it tries to engage with a rapidly changing world.

    "It would be simplistic to reduce the Catholic character to any single program," Privett said in an interview. (San Francisco Chronicle)
    Deacon Keith Fournier is running an open letter from a graduate student in the program, which begins:
    “I am a graduate student in the master’s theology program at the University of San Francisco. Unfortunately, we have been notified by the program director that the program is scheduled to be terminated. Fr. Daniel Kendall, who has been at the University since 1979, was notified of the decision to terminate the program via email. The President and Dean of the University did not have the professional courtesy to meet Fr. Kendall in person to give him the news of the decision”.

    Current students have also setup an online petition addressed to the President of USF.

    From my brief scan, it appears this program does indeed provide a unique service in the area (evening/weekend classes so working folks can get a degree, etc.) and, well, a Catholic university without even an MA in theology strikes me as a bit incongruous, especially if the program was breaking even.

    I post this for those interested in perhaps signing the petition and learning more about the situation, especially if you are local to the area. The argument of the petition is a good place to start I'd suggest.

    update: Jack Smith at The Catholic Key has more helpful information on this subject. He attended USF.

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