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WASHINGTON (RNS) — In February 2012, about a year after John Garvey was named 15th president of the Catholic University of America, Stephen McKenna, chair of the media studies department, was trying to fill a faculty position. After a lengthy search, he and others narrowed it down to three candidates — only to learn the new president had abruptly rejected all three.
According to McKenna, it turned out that Garvey had canceled the search because none of the three finalists openly identified as Catholic. McKenna said that when he visited Garvey’s office to discuss the matter, he was lectured on “how to pre-target a desired Catholic candidate, and run a search designed to land that person.”
Alarming - McKenna - Religion - News - Service
“This was both new and alarming,” McKenna told Religion News Service recently in an email. “The policy had always been, ‘all other things being equal, hire the Catholic.’ Clearly now we were to follow that policy with a wink. We were now to do affirmative action hiring for Catholics.”
Formally established by Pope Leo XIII in the late 1880s, the university was founded by the American Catholic bishops as a beacon of the faith in U.S. academia. The blue Byzantine dome of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent to campus is visible from much of D.C., not least from the U.S. Capitol 3 miles away.
Highly - Philosophy - Work - Departments - CUA
Highly regarded for its philosophy and social work departments, CUA today is ranked the 120th best school in the country by U.S. News & World Report, tied with two other Catholic universities, Duquesne and DePaul.
Since Garvey’s arrival, however, CUA has become known too for its adherence to what many see as conservative principles, which it enforces with what critics call unorthodox hiring practices and by closely governing aspects of student life. That effort, detractors argue, makes CUA’s education...
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