• August 30, 2015

Say Something

Plan A Protests-Georgetown U.


"I've gotten to know John Carroll way better than I'd ever hoped."

Julia Shindel

Georgetown University

In this episode, we talk to Julia Shindel (far right), a student at Georgetown University, about her protest of the lack of access to birth control on the Catholic institution's campus.

About this series: Say Something, The Chronicle's new podcast, collects stories from college students about what they’re up to and why. Check for new episodes every three weeks.

Photo: Courtesy of Julia Shindel. Music: Courtesy of John Gravois.


1. rickinchina09 - June 24, 2010 at 01:20 am

Yet another example of students and their abetting faculty advisers confusing rights with privileges. They knew upon admission that Georgetown upheld certain Roman Catholic traditions but expect nonetheless to be granted access to things in moral opposition to the institution. It is once again an attitude of selfish entitlement playing out no doubt with the encouragement of others. As if these students don't have the resourcefulness to locate that which they seek. One does not need to be a rigid adherent to Catholic doctrine to see the error of their ways. But one does need to shy away from fabricated notions of victimization.

2. addhart - June 24, 2010 at 05:27 am

Absurd. If she doesn't "subscribe to" the "ideology" of Georgetown, she should go to a different and non-Catholic institution. Those who chain themselves to a statue, wear duct tape on their mouths, and whine that their demands for "reproductive rights" are not being met by the university really shouldn't be taken very seriously. They are behaving like the spoiled, petulant children they evidently are. Grow up, kids.

3. bobbyfisher - June 24, 2010 at 05:39 am

Dear Kids of Georgetown and other would be radicals,

Thanks to anonymous posting, you can know what many people who would otherwise not speak for fear of repercussions from people like yourselves, really think about what you are doing. Consider this fact the next time you create a ruckus.

4. janyregina - June 24, 2010 at 07:23 am

Aren't we all encouraged or influenced by others for good and ill? What are the differences between "rights and privileges" and how do they relate to unplanned pregancies and often unwanted children? A ruckus huh! Women have been publishing for centuries anonymously for various reasons. And speaking of women, who does an unplanned pregnancy impact most? A hint- An unwed mother usually never catches up educationally, therefore ? economically with her un-pregnant sisters.

5. lizgibbons - June 24, 2010 at 07:31 am

The speaker could have used this forum to call attention to the actual policy (what is it, how does it prevent women from obtaining birth control), but instead only complained about the duct tape she put over her own mouth. People will listen when you stop whining and have something to say.

6. supertatie - June 24, 2010 at 08:03 am

<Comment removed by moderator>

7. aoklein - June 24, 2010 at 08:24 am

If you are mature enough to make those decisions, you are mature enough to get to a pharmacy yourself.

8. tridaddy - June 24, 2010 at 08:39 am

A little self control would be nice, or is that we're "devolving" into animals with no ability to think.

9. madmaggs - June 24, 2010 at 08:42 am

I have seen so many arrogant postings above, that I feel obliged to speak. Quite unfortunately, Ms. Shindel deconstructs her protest womewhat with all the whining about the duct tape, but the issue is real. I am very tired, indeed, of hypocrisy. Given the Catholic church's moral lapses among the clergy, I can't imagine why they believe that they stand on enough moral high ground to tell anyone else how to manage their reproductive rights. I was married to a Georgetown faculty member and, though married and not Catholic, could not have my birth control medication paid by the insurance provided by the university. I wonder whether they pay for Viagra to help men exercise their reproductive rights? Who knows. I don't consider my desire to responsibly plan my family to be a "privilege." It is a right. To accuse women who wish to have birth control protection to be immoral is just plain wrong. Supertatie should be ashamed of him/herself for accusing Ms. Shindel of immorality. Look at the log in your own eye, sirrah.

10. 22228715 - June 24, 2010 at 08:45 am

Ouch. Some of the above comments are over the top, into the realm of troll speak, and very rude. To these young women, I apologize on behalf of my fellow readers.

But point taken that the interview seems to be about the students' experience of being "uncomfortable", not about the issue, making one doubt intentions. However, we don't know what questions the interviewer asked.

Although I believe that birth control is a vital component of modern society, I wince at protests that demand that private universities with very up-front policies change to meet non-academic expectations. Much like I would protect the right of an individual to speak up even if she said something with which I disagree, I support private universities' right to craft the educational experience in a way that fits with the vision it has established and that meets the needs of its intended community. Without that, our higher education system ceases to exist in its current form. I know there are exceptions, and I am OK with some federal guidelines (although I think they are getting oppressive an expensive) but I am not yet convinced that universities have a basic obligation to provide birth control. Perhaps if the interview had been about the issue, my opinion might have shifted this morning.

11. bertnb - June 24, 2010 at 08:51 am

I wonder how many whiny respondents who have posted here would like to lecture the male students about "getting some" at Georgetown. My hunch is that most of you would think that was okay.

The only argument you can truly make here is that it is a private institution and, therefore, allowed to make its own rules and policies. I'm not sure what you think is gained by calling this female student names of a sexual nature, supertatie. You should be ashamed of yourself.

12. velvis - June 24, 2010 at 08:54 am

Speaking of lack of moral high ground -- the POPE was in the Hitler Youth and has come to the aid of child molesters yet he is holy.

She because of wanting to be responsible while still exerting her right to sex is immoral -- where's that compass again I think the poles are switching.

I do agree that she knew this coming in Georgetown is a Catholic University, I didn't go there because of that. Around Georgetown U there is an entire city full of pharmacies and several places with names like "Condomrageous" not to metion planned parenthood.

While I understand her desire to have easy access, is going a couple of blocks off campus really a hinderance to her rights or more an inconvienence to her feet?

13. scanlo10 - June 24, 2010 at 08:56 am

It's great that someone used "troll" on the comments here.

14. 22014710 - June 24, 2010 at 09:00 am

The remark that if the students don't like Georgetown's policy they should go elsewhere is comparable to the assertion that if citizens don't like the policy of their government, they should retreat to another country. The students are part of the university institution; members of its community; and a central raison d'etre of its existence. They undoubtedly value the education they're receiving, but object to certain policies that restrict the kind of services available at most private and public universities. They have made their statement in a powerful way without disrupting the institution. They've showed courage and independence, something most universities would like to cultivate in their students. University officials don't have to agree, but they should be willing to listen, as apparently they have.

15. 22266725 - June 24, 2010 at 09:01 am

Whether you agree with Ms. Shindel or not, do you feel so strongly that she has no right to protest? That any form of civil disobedience is wrong. Has our society become so polarized and intolerant that dissent is to be banned as inherently bad? I will stand for freedom of expression in a nonviolent way.

As Voltaire was supposed to have said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

16. 11182967 - June 24, 2010 at 09:32 am

#5 makes a pertinent point, perhaps, but we don't know the reporter's prompt. Did the reporter ask, as is quite likely, how she felt rather than what she thought? It has been the practice for years now for "journalists" at all levels, from the local news to the national broadcasts, to prompt the participants in an event to speak primarily of their feelings about it rather than their thinking behind their actions or their thoughts about what has occurred. The student is not so much being a whiny adolescent as she is following a pattern of response learned, eg, from watching the reporting on countless court cases focusing on "closure" rather than justice, lazy "reporting" which finds it easier to prompt an outpouring of feelings than to frame an articulate question.

17. 22266017 - June 24, 2010 at 09:33 am

Sure... she has every right to protest... and I have every right to think that she's misguided and naive. Some of the comments here are extreme and unfortunate, but that doesn't make this student's rationale any more sound.

The attacks on the pope and Catholicism here are irrelevant, based on poor information, and yet still very predictable. We're the easy target these days and uninformed, biased people just can't help themselves.

Madmaggs, your husband shouldn't work there if he doesn't like it. GU can't help it if that's the only place he can find to work or if he really likes his colleagues or whatever other reason he cites for accepting their job offer. GU didn't tell anybody what to do. They simply said that they would not cooperate in choices which did not align with their mission. C'mon, would you madmaggs go out and buy a product for someone when you fundamentally disagreed with the existence/purpose of that product? Finally, saying that this is equivalent to a "get out of America" attitude is ridiculous. GU is not saying that she has to leave town or remove herself from any particular situation. They are simply saying that they will not aid her in engaging in one specific activity.

18. softshellcrab - June 24, 2010 at 09:48 am

Man, do I ever like the comments made here. It has been so good to see that there are still sane people in America, and in academia, no less. It started with rickinchina09's excellent opening statement (better than I ever could have put it) "Yet another example of students and their abetting faculty advisers confusing rights with privileges." And it seemed to get even better from there. Thanks to the posters above for restoring my faith that there are still sane members of the academic world. If these liberal sex crazy crybabys don't like the ideals of a JESUIT institution, why for Heaven's sake did they attend it? Let them go buy their own damn contraceptives at the drugstore if they positively "need" them so much. I just developed new respect for Georgetown, a school I have often felt did not adhere as strongly as it should to Jesuit teachings. It is a Jesuit institution, and if you don't accept Catholic and Jesuit ideals, leave.

19. dank48 - June 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

As my dear Aunt Olive used to say, "Boys will be boys, and girls will be unwed mothers."

20. 22208120 - June 24, 2010 at 10:19 am

The many comments so far are absolutely on the mark. The university, as a private university and as a Catholic university, also has some rights, including the right to adhere to Catholic traditions, policies and guidelines. Even as a non-Catholic, this seems pretty obvious to me. If I were to attend a Jewish university, I wouldn't demand the "right" to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, ham and cheese for lunch, and roast pork for dinner in the university's cafeteria! It's a sad situation when so many Americans misunderstand what "rights" means, a result of a national educational system which has rejected anything resembling a moral compass. As a nation, we are not the better for this.

21. traciemac - June 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

I applaud your right to peaceful protest but I see your objection on a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning rather a worthless gesture. Georgetown stands by its church teachings and you gain no advantage with a protest there. Even though you may see your protest of value most will just find it amusing and naive.

22. honore - June 24, 2010 at 10:36 am

WHAT???? No condoms with my 11:59am "morning" frappucino at the campus Starbucks. How can I possibly be self-actualized and fully realized (student development speak) as an ever-precious American student. Next you'll be telling me that I can't use my Gold American Express to pay for pizza at 3am. You guyz!!!!!!
Gotta run. Don't want to be late for my Tropic Tan appointment and "ouchless" Brazilian bikini shave. You guyz just don't understand us....Madison, WI

23. ais23 - June 24, 2010 at 10:41 am

From the comments I expected the segment to be embarrassing (for me, because I find most of the above comments to be so revolting). It was far from offensive. The assumptions made by commenters about this young woman (and women in general) are unfair, and they demonstrate how ugly and judgmental sexism can be. This has no place in the classroom, or in administration.

24. 11232247 - June 24, 2010 at 10:43 am

Let me get this straight. You live in Washington DC. You attend one of the most most exclusive private schools in all of America. And still, you cannot seem to figure out how to procure contraceptives for yourself?

Me thinks the lady is either an incurable rube or Georgetown U. has taken to locking its doors from the outside these days.

And so it goes...

25. takapa - June 24, 2010 at 10:56 am

I am surprised by the protest. Many good points made above. #21 and #22 in particular. Couldn't find something else worth while to shout about?

26. honore - June 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

Oh please! Sexist? Press the fast foward button on that tired faux-feminist synapse.

There is NOTHING sexist about any criticism leveled at naive, self-absorbed, attention-driven pampered brats whining about not having access to cappucino-flavored condoms at the union salad bar.

These students need to jump into their dusty Volvos, Saabs or BMWs and stock up on lube and rubbers and THEN on the drive back to their air conditioned luxury apartments within walking distance to a local Burker King, REMIND themselves of the fact that they are living in 1 of the most crime-ridden cities in the US, where black children are shot in the head in drive-by assaults, drugs are rampant in the school and K-12 academic achievement is so low that you need a shovel to find it at sub-terranean levels. Sexist, my patooty!

27. livefreeordie2 - June 24, 2010 at 11:21 am

#14 - You are 100 percent incorrect. As are those who suggest this is about contraception, unwed motherhood, sexism, or even the right to protest. The only thing this is about is freedom. Georgetown has and should have the freedom to set any policies it likes - including what will be included in an employee health plan. Students and employees have the freedom to go to school or work wherever they wish. No one is forcing Ms Shindel to go to Gerogetown - it was her choice. Georgetown also has the right to choose and Ms Shindell should respect that choice by either accepting the policy or transferring to an institution with policies more to her liking.

But then, like all liberals, she undoubtedly believes that only her "right to choose" should be respected and those with whom she disagrees have no rights, deserve no respect, and should be forced to her way of thinking. . .

28. stinkcat - June 24, 2010 at 11:36 am

Personally, I think that no entity has an obligation to subsidize anybody else. I checked google maps and there is a CVS which is an 8 minute walk from the campus. Clearly these people cannot seriously be complaining about the lack of access to contraception. There is plenty of access, just use your feet and go there.

29. 11294330 - June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

I came very close to joining the Catholic church in my 20s. I went through all the lessons, but in the end decided as a feminist I couldn't join that community. It was a tough choice, since my husband was Catholic.

The priest lectured me that I could never change the institution from the outside. I must join the community and work for change. I see from this discussion, and the many comments, that once you join the community, you have accepted their policies and agreed to live with them. So consequently, a person cannot change the institution from the outside or the inside. That does seem to be a problem.

30. jc1968 - June 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

Purchasing contraceptives is not a "right". It is a business transaction whether it is a prescribed medication or not.

If GU chooses not to provide the commodity the student wishes to purchase, she does have the right to go to another provider to make her purchase.

As for the shots at boys (men take responsibility, no matter their age), doesn't it still take two people to make the decision to engage in unprotected sex? While I will never support a boy who does not take responsibility after the fact, the placement of blame on the boy for a decision that required two individuals to make, in my mind, is sexist because it places the responsibility for the pregnancy on the boy instead of the couple.

As a private institution, much like freedom of speech, they can set their own standards. While each student does have a fundamental right to protest, that also means the protester must accept the fact that others will argue against their position.

Freedom of speech and expression is not just for what you agree with, but also for those with whom you disagree. It is much scarier to me when reading posts that start crossing the lines that infer we must limit expression and speech because what is being said is not palatable to their sensitive psyches.

31. angustias - June 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Let me say first that I think the Catholic Church is a morally bankrupt institution, but its policies are clear, and the young woman's attempt to paint herself as a victim is a bit silly.
However, the misogynistic comments of my peers are distrubing in their hatred of young women's sexuality.
Evey time I think we have progressed, some deep-seated hatred rears its ugly head.

32. lsdeprez - June 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

If these are comments from supposed learned academic colleagues ... I am embarrassed. No, horrified actually.

33. stinkcat - June 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Thinking that people should take responsibility for their lives is misogenistic? I think the responsibility should fall to males as well as females. For example, perhaps we need to develop a debtors prison from guys who don't pay child support. If they won't pay, make them put in 12 hours a day of hard labor.

34. rickinchina09 - June 24, 2010 at 12:24 pm

22014710 replied:
"The remark that if the students don't like Georgetown's policy they should go elsewhere is comparable to the assertion that if citizens don't like the policy of their government, they should retreat to another country."

Your analogy lacks a sense of proportionality, like the other poster insinuating the current Pope has Nazi sympathies. Do strive in the future to clear the cobwebs before responding.

Honore, your first post made me laugh. I can just imagine this subtext running through the minds of these pampered youth.

35. abednars - June 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

"Waaaaaah! I want to f**k anything that walks, and call that "freedom." "

It's nice to know that the Chronicle is OK with this kind of violent rhetoric. So much for discourse. (It IS nice when someone advertises their hatred of women and sex loud & clear, though. Makes it easier to avoid them for reasonable conversation.)

There's lots I could say, but I'll leave it at this: it's interesting that Georgetown refuses to offer contraception because it wants to to inject religion into it campus, but it doesn't require that its students follow the more fundamental parts of Catholicism - like, say, receiving the sacrements. And if they really wanted to police sex at Georgetown, they would discipline students who have sex outside of marriage and/or use contraception.

Oh, wait - that would mean students wouldn't come to Georgetown, which would mean less money for the Church. I guess the moral line is drawn where money is to be made.

36. jaysanderson - June 24, 2010 at 01:13 pm

Dear Georgetown kids,
Walgreens carries an assortment of birth control supplies--usually one or two isles from the pharmacy. Now that we've solved that problem, I want to affirm your right to protest, but encourage you to find worthwhile issues. For example, 1) Women all over the muslim world are treated as property and no one defends them; 2) in the Darfour region of Africa, Christians are being slaughtered every day simply because others want their land and because they are Christian; 3) Sub-Saharan Africa suffers every day (war, illness, lack of food and water, poverty, oppressive governments, etc., take your pick). Look kids, here's the point: Look outside your own selfish needs and protest injustice in the world--try to solve some of the world's tough problems.

37. softshellcrab - June 24, 2010 at 01:19 pm


Do you really think the Catholic Church makes money on Georgetown U.? Ha! I guaranty it's a cost center, not a money maker. The Catholic Church sees it as part of its duty to provide education, hospitals, orphanages, social services for the good of society, and it has done this for hundreds of years. Before major govenment social programs, the Catholic Church was the single largest provider of hospitals, private schools, food centers, and other support for the poor. We are happy to do it, and will be happy to help you if you ever need that help.

38. unabashedmale - June 24, 2010 at 01:20 pm

Georgetown girls - Boy's can't get pregnant.

Based on the imbicile quotient of the knuckleheads in the photo, I figure you wouldn't know that either.

39. anonscribe - June 24, 2010 at 01:20 pm

i'm ashamed of these comments, and i'm ashamed that the chronicle has kept them up. i mean, the chronicle is a private entity, so it has the "right" to delete whatever they feel like off these pages. apparently, they've made the choice that misogynistic libel and down right brutality are par for the course. very nice.

students going to private, non-profit institutions that receive billions of dollars in tax subsidies have no right to protest? they're just whining about reproductive rights? any woman who wants reasonable access to birth control is a sl@t? welcome to the 21st century, kids. it looks a whole lot like the 15th.

when people pay $5 for a latte, we all think they deserve to b!tch about whatever they want. a student pays 50K a YEAR in tuition, and they apparently just have to sit down, shut up, and worship Georgetown's popish rod. the commenters at top don't care about Georgetown's rights, or issues of property and speech, or issues of reproductive rights: they hate women and they hate sex. plain and simple. probably because they were too stupid to get into Georgetown in the first place.

40. 22266017 - June 24, 2010 at 01:25 pm

11294330 (#29), yes, a problem for YOU. But, I find it to be the one of the best parts of the church that we don't stand by what we think regardless of the tides of the day. It's interesting that we are critized for not changing, while politicians are criticized for flip-flopping. If we changed our mind on as many things as people like you wanted, then everyone would say we just do what's popular. We can't win and if you were honest with yourself, you'd acknowledge this too.

abednars (#35), your logic is brilliant. It would just be so easy to monitor when and where every single student is having sex, wouldn't it? Yes, let's put up cameras everywhere, even in students' permanent residences! That'll do the trick. In this instance, GU is controlling what it can control, while still allowing students to make their own decisions. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

41. 11294330 - June 24, 2010 at 01:47 pm

22266017 (#40), in speedreading my comment, you missed the part that the priest lectured me on joining the community and working for change. Let me write that again: THE PRIEST lectured me on joining the community and working for change. Please read with comprehension.

Yes, the priest knew, even as he said that, there was no mechanism for change. He just wanted me to join the flock.

But nice try pulling in flip-flopping politicians for argument sake. A politician changing his mind on policy is completely relevant to long standing church policy and belief. Comprehension and logic...

42. lslerner - June 24, 2010 at 01:57 pm

Nice try, and brave. But there is not a snowball's chance in hell that Georgetown is going to abandon the official Catholic fiction that good Catholics don't use contraceptives.

43. rhancuff - June 24, 2010 at 02:01 pm

It's nice to see that the Chronicle's discussion boards have joined the major newspapers' boards as targets of trolls. Actually, it's not very nice, is it? Let's summarize, shall we:
1) Women who protest for reproductive rights are immoral sluts.
2) College students, especially at Georgetown, are pampered brats.
3) Protesting policy one disagrees with really shouldn't be done in America, and if it is, it should be done about places far away.
4) In case you missed it, using birth control means you are an irresponsible, immoral slut.

Isn't the web wonderful?

44. velvis - June 24, 2010 at 02:11 pm

@ 14 :
I don't think saying that if you don't like a religous university's policy you can go else where is anything like saying move out of the county..There is a vast difference between government by the people where it is your duty to speak up against what is wrong and and picking another college to go to. Having lived in the greater DC area I know that there are no less than 25 other institutions within a 30 minute commute of DC most of them are not religous, most of them offer the same majors so this is choice.

Knowing a school's thoughts on a religon and their beliefs and then complaining when the school follows up on them is picking a fight just to pick a fight.

45. 22266017 - June 24, 2010 at 02:20 pm

11294330 (#41), I didn't miss it. I just don't find it as relevant or meaningful as you do. One priest who doesn't know how to do his job properly is not representative of church teachings, disciplines, and procedures. So many people take what one misguided priest says and use it to characterize or judge the entire church. It's a shame on multiple levels.

As for paragraph #2, I don't see much difference. The timeframe may be longer, but many of the issues upon which politicians are flip-flopping are the exact same issues that the Church is addressing and both are prominent leaders, albeit on a different scale.

46. rhancuff - June 24, 2010 at 02:20 pm

Velvis, none of those other institutions are Georgetown and outside of perhaps the University of Maryland and for a few programs George Washington, none of them have nearly the (academic) reputation and (networking) prestige. Yes, it's hyperbolic to suggest an analogy with getting out of the country, but it's also disingenuous to suggest that Georgetown isn't the most prestigious school within a 30 minute commute.

47. abednars - June 24, 2010 at 02:25 pm

#40 - wanna bet that the RAs in the dorms never catch anyone having sex? If so, under Catholic rules there should be harsh penalties - right? And what about Mass attendance? That would be easy to account for.

#37 - wanna bet the Church DOESN'T make money on Georgetown? Why would they worry about "education" if they weren't worried about continuing the existance of the Catholic Church? The Church needs money to continue, and it hopes it can count on the well-heeled alumni of Georgetown (and the like) to save the day. As the comedian says - according to religion, God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and He always needs a lot of money.

48. redial1 - June 24, 2010 at 02:38 pm

I was recently an employee and grad student at Georgetown. I was not only non-Catholic but single when I started working there and the insurance paid for my birth control. I never had a problem. There was even an article in the Washington Post last year when Catholic Charities threatened to stop providing health coverage for married couples due to the gay marriage legislation. The article pointed out that Georgetown's health coverage pays for birth control and partners.

To say Georgetown denies their employees and their partners/spouses benefits based on their Catholic beliefs is untrue.

While I applaud the woman for protesting, it is a bit of a non-issue. Georgetown doesn't stop anyone from obtaining birth control on their own. I missed this protest as I was not on campus but I heard about it and the consensus among students and employees was...go to CVS.

49. abednars - June 24, 2010 at 03:16 pm

I *do* hope that if Georgetown isn't in the business of providing health care for its students, then it doesn't provide health care, period. No flu vaccines, no wellness clinics. After all - kids can just go to CVS...

50. 11122741 - June 24, 2010 at 03:19 pm

For god's sake go down the street to the pharmacy and spend some of your student loan money on what you need or find someone's kitchen to clean once a week to pay for you method of choice, or get your partner to pay half.

Rancuff, you've so jumped the shark so bad it isn't funny. Ludicious
doesn't cover it and I am an old 60's bus rider and sit-in person. I only read this story because I couldn't stop laughing at the title and said 'you've got to be kidding me."

After reading all of these responses I'm off to get some friends to chain ourselves to the stove in the campus cafeteria kitchen to protest the lack of the right kinds of mushrooms in the spaghetti sauce and the university jack booting our religion and rights.

I think Andy Worhol had a term for all of this. FYI, I would have been impressed if they were protesting the Pope and molesting priest or the church trying to fill up the pews and coffers with illegal aliens ...now that would take some hutzspa ...oh, wrong religion and they're on everyone's bad list: hmmmmmmm.

But thank god I live in a country where I can go down the street and buy birth control (or order it off the web).... you know just like I could do in Iran.

Wait, why isn't the university paying my cell phone contract??!!! How am I going to get to have sex without my cell phone ...Hey wait,I have a new protest to do and even if my mouth is duct taped I can still use my thumbs:)

51. 22266017 - June 24, 2010 at 03:42 pm

#47, your response to #37 is evidence that it is pointless to discuss this with you any further. If you can't even entertain the possibility that the Church might just be altruistic and not just out to get money, then you're certainly not going to consider objectively anything that anyone like me says about it.

And yet, I can't resist commenting on your response to me. You are setting up such a straw-man argument. What harsh penalties have these students suffered because they can't have easy access to free birth control? How are harsh penalties at all related to this topic? A Catholic institution like this isn't forcing moral behavior on anyone. They are simply trying to avoid participating in immoral behavior. Big difference.

And your hyperbolic reference to mass attendance serves no purpose either. Failure to attend mass can't reasonably be monitored for potential punishment because there are any number of reasons why students might not be attending mass on campus (illnes, home on the weekends, like another local parish better, etc.).

Furthermore, many Catholic institutions DO have some level of sanctioning if students are caught having sex and many institutions do have policies against students visiting other students of the opposite sex in the residence halls because they are doing the best that they can reasonably do to avoid presenting an occasion for immoral behavior.

52. stinkcat - June 24, 2010 at 04:12 pm

"I *do* hope that if Georgetown isn't in the business of providing health care for its students, then it doesn't provide health care, period. No flu vaccines, no wellness clinics. After all - kids can just go to CVS..."

Using this logic, lets also hope that Yeshiva University is not in the business of feeding their students unless they are willing to satisfy the wants of those students who have a particular fondness for bacon wrapped scallops.

53. drkenny - June 24, 2010 at 05:16 pm

Georgetown University is a privately owned and operated nonprofit institution. As such, it can set guidelines that mirror its values. When a private institution loses its conscience of thought, we as individuals suffer too.

54. 22118130 - June 24, 2010 at 05:33 pm

11294330 (#29)-- as you found out, the Catholic church is an anti-Democratic institution. I was educated for twelve years in Catholic schools and was reminded time and time again that democratic rules do not apply. The power structure of the Catholic church is a vestige of the "divine right of kings" of the Middle Ages. Many other institutions have been democratized sine then, but not the Catholic church. The only vote you're given is with your feet-- you have the right to walk out the door, or in your case, not to walk in the door. I voted with my feet many years ago, and while I have sometimes missed the culture, I have never regretted it.

55. stinkcat - June 24, 2010 at 05:54 pm

Is what is right or wrong determined by a majority vote? Was slavery moral because it was voted on and accepted by a legislative body? Or is it intrinsicly wrong and not subject to being either right or wrong based on prevailing opinion?

56. velvis - June 24, 2010 at 06:15 pm


If prestige was all she was going for, for the price she could have picked another university say something actually Ivy League.

My point is that it was a choice. As is walking to your off campus pharmacy vs picking a fight with a religious establishment when you know you're going to lose.

57. rachaelski - June 24, 2010 at 06:48 pm

I am disgusted by some of the comments here. The notion that a young women who is sexually active is a deviant, or "easy" or even promiscuous is blantantly sexist. Certainly she should realize that an Catholic institution would not supply birth control, but that (with the comments listed here) has become besides the point. As a college student, not only is she growing academically, but socially and politically as well.

FYI, birth control is used for a variety of ailments in women, including but not limited to:

heavy and continuous menstration
polycystic ovaries

It's not just for women who "want to f**k anything that walks"

58. mckittrm - June 24, 2010 at 09:06 pm

The vitriol in many of these comments reveals much more about the commenters than it does about the issue at hand. I have taught Ms. Shindel, and I'd rather have her in my class than some of the commenters. They don't seem to have learned the first rule of my classroom, which is not to draw conclusions based on your own prejudices coupled with a lack of actual information.

Is it perhaps conceivable that Ms. Shindel is exercising the faculties of critical thinking we are seeking to cultivate in our students? That she finds the policy a selective application of Catholic doctrine?

Georgetown University does not follow Vatican teachings to the letter in a number of matters, and its promotional materials emphasize many aspects of the University beyond its Catholic heritage when it seeks to attract applicants.

59. rickinchina09 - June 25, 2010 at 03:19 am

mckittrm wrote:

"The vitriol (sic) in many of these comments reveals much more about the commenters than it does about the issue at hand."

I'm going to go out on a limb and give you the benefit of the doubt as a dissenting academic on this issue. I'm going to suppose those who you deem vitriolic include the posters who have defended these student protestors but at the same time used their concern to gratuitously vent against the Roman Catholic Church and what it stands for.


You're either being disingenuous or really reaching for straws here. I seriously doubt--as anyone possessing of an ounce of common sense should--these students protested because they wanted to use contraceptives to cure acne and such.


I for one did not state or imply that all Georgetown students are pampered. I reserve that label for those who engage in a victimhood mentality undeservedly, namely, the protestors in this situation. As a former college student myself, and the first in my family to attend college, I hardly have the urge to label all college students pampered. So refrain from summaries of divergent views on this thread.

To those who've posted here who evidently don't miss any chance to bash the Church or its institutions, I would just like to say that while you're certainly entitled to relay your tales of woe it doesn't serve to advance the discussion on this issue. One ought to wonder whether such impertinence is all that motivates you.

60. supertatie - June 25, 2010 at 07:49 am

Well, well. I apparently hit a nerve here.

Sorry, folks, but having spent two decades in higher ed, I am not snookered by the trumped up indignation and "reproductive rights" schtick anymore. Spend a little time on a Monday morning (or ANY morning, for that matter) actually LISTENING to your students as they regale each other with tales of their "hook up" culture (often, though not exclusively fueled by excessive alcohol consumption). And then if you still want to tell yourselves that these kids are "evolved," and "responsible," I won't try to disabuse you of that lovely little illusion.

I never used the "s" word to describe this particular student. And my fake quote referred to a generalized attitude. Nor is there anything sexist about the observation that college students' attitudes and behaviors when it comes to sex are shockingly ignorant and manifestly adolescent. Women are as just as promiscuous on campus as men, now. Hurray! And they have just as many STDs. 19 million new cases each year, and 50% of them in young people between the ages of 15 and 24. There are estimates that as many as 1 in 4 young people have an STD. You wouldn't get on an elevator with those odds. But hurray again! This is the face of sexual "equality."

And I should have expected the "you must hate sex" drones to trot out that tired trope. *snore* That mindless retort doesn't even merit a response.

But I want to be quite clear that I do not blame this generation for their ignorance. They are the inheritors of a sad tradition, and multiple generations of what should have been adults have justified their own adolescent behaviors by indoctrinating those who came after them.

So my harshest criticism is not directed at these young people who think it's a righteous protest when they chain themselves to a statue to complain that they have to go all the way to the corner drug store and pay for their birth control pills themselves. It is directed at those who brought them up to think that human sexuality is just another form of recreation; that pumping your body full of synthetic chemicals that simulate pregnancy is holistic and healthy; that a life filled with multiple sex partners is rich and rewarding and poses no health threats; that contraception is a "right" that someone else is obligated to pay for; and (let us not forget the libertines' Holy Grail), that the ability to destroy your own unborn child is the high watermark of human achievement, and always there as a backup when contraception fails.

That is the ugly reality of what these - and others - are clamoring for. Do they have the "right" to protest? Of course they do! They also have the right to look pathetic and profoundly silly, and those of us who see it that way have the right to say so.

61. honore - June 25, 2010 at 09:14 am

Supertatie, you hit more than a nerve. You hit jugular of a too-predictable, fake feel-good-at-all-costs, patronizing, "if we plan a dish-to-pass" workshop mentality that dictates we can "fix" all of students problems if we just put the solutions on a velvet pillow and hand it to them at orientation and then AGAIN at every classroom, everyday.

Here's the deal. A student decides to go to college. Where and when are obviously important factors in that personal equation. At that point s/he is making their way through the world as s/he ses it or wishes for it to be; NOT the way ANY of us see it for them.

Drinking, drugging, sexing, studying, working, volunteering, spring-breaking, slacking, study-abroading are all but turns on that road they each pave across our campus.

A student wants to engage in sex? Wow, that's hardly revolutionary. Believe me NOT even a 13 year old doesn't know how to access information about safe-sex, STDs, condoms or S&M zippered masks on eBay, iF that is what they want to learn about or engage in. They do not need the politically-correct campus gate-keepers and pulse-takers of ANY passing political f*rt to sniff the air for them and declare it a "safe zone".

But apparently that is a bit too fluid-a-perspective for the prudish school-marms masquerading as administrators, advisors, counselors or "advocates" on our campuses

WE have all made our mistakes and have learned from them (or not) and the consequences that result from our actions often have the most profound impact when we have to struggle to resolve our own not-so-unique situations ON OUR OWN.

I agree with you completely and love you even more for your passion, candor and ability to call a spade-a-spade in our institutional culture so toxic with silly political postures that are teetering on the edge waiting for a breeze of reality to blow them over.

Students do have a right to contraception and they ALSO have the right to figure out where to procure it, when and why. GU has no obligation to provide candy dishes of candy-flavored condoms with or without crucifixes stamped on them. If GU bases their reason to NOT install condom/diaphragm vending machines in every hallway based on theological dogma, then these students need to figure out a way to get to the local Walgreens and whip out their Mastercards

We have FAR more pressing issues to deal with as a society than whether Heather has 2 condoms or Brad & Bill don't.

(officially declared by OSHA as the home of toxic political correctness)

62. davi2665 - June 25, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hilarious! Our pampered "gimme" entitlement generation now wants free birth control devices or meds from the institution they voluntarily chose to attend, knowing that the institution adheres to certain precepts or principles (whether or not they agree with them). I guess it takes too much time away from the hook ups and the lattes to walk to the corner drug store. However, these women have discovered a very effective form of birth control. Chaining oneself to a statue with duct tape over one's mouth should be highly effective. I suppose that the next protest will be the lack of a free abortion clinic on Georgetown's campus, to make it more convenient to get rid of those annoying reproductive consequences- called children.

63. jaysanderson - June 25, 2010 at 05:36 pm

What Supertatie said...yes, just what she said.

64. viamedia - June 25, 2010 at 06:51 pm

Reproductive rights? Well the students already have them: they can choose not to reproduce or to try to reproduce. No one is stopping them either way. Their misnomer covers over another kind of desire.

Do not try to take away the religious rights of communities to attempt to live up to the long-held traditions of their guiding ideals. Do not try to suppress freedom of religion this way.

Be honest and look at the dark side of the "liberational movement" in sexuality. Is disaster more likely to come from the restrained used of sexuality or the "liberational" use of it?

For those who like to taunt the failed or hypocritical ministers, politicians, and parents: did those people go wrong by trying to live up to the highest ideals of their guiding traditions or by following an all-too-"liberational" ideal?

You know the answer.

65. anonscribe - June 25, 2010 at 08:33 pm

supertatie and his/her dronish acolytes apparently enjoy taking vengeance on others for their own mundane sexual lives. instead of exaggerating what this young woman is asking for (the same birth control access provided to just about every other college student in the country, private or public), and erroneously connecting it to some secret "PC" conspiracy or pretending that by projecting their own deficiencies onto young people that they're courageous culture warriors....instead of doing these things, i recommend supertatie do what smart, well-adjusted college students have been doing for decades: go meet someone you like to help you feel a little pleasure.

sex is, among other things, for recreation. that's a wonderful thing and is not to be maligned with 14th century charges of 'crimes against nature.' perhaps supertatie needs a choir of angels singing ave maria in the background to get his/her jollies. thank god, the rest of us realized in our youth that the good lord made our special parts for a reason: to use them. "hooking up," contrary to the prudes here, can be a fine thing. some young men should learn respect. some young women should be more honest about the connection between sex and emotion. but, i might ask, what do these things have to do with wanting an institution you're paying 50K to to provide you with standard health care (to which part of your student fees are dedicated)?

or, to risk muddying my boots in the filth supertatie and her @$$hole chorus apparently live in every day: you people are idiots. read a history book, learn how to make someone love you, and get the hell out of the way of people who've learned to use the few brain cells god gave them. that is all. commence your hypocritical witch hunt anew, chumps. hell as a special place for you.

66. viamedia - June 25, 2010 at 09:05 pm

It is almost as though #65 anonscribe doesn't realize that the improper use of sex kills and wounds more people than war does.

67. partly_cloudy - June 26, 2010 at 01:13 pm

To brilliant folks complaining that "students who go to the college should know better than to argue with its official ideology": Not all Roman Catholics are anti-birth control, anti-choice, or anti-sex. Judging from the fact that around 90% of all Americans use contraception at some point in their life, that would indicate that an awful lot, if not most, Catholics use it, not least because even married couples cannot afford to "allow 'god' to decide" how many children they'll conceive. I was raised Catholic, and many Catholics I know currently use it. Surely some of you have also heard of the group of nuns who sent a letter of support for the new health-care law, and the nun at a Catholic hospital in Arizona who (so kindly) recently allowed a woman who would have otherwise died to have an abortion. (It's just so nice that some of them realize women's lives, not just fetus's lives, are "lives," too.)

The church is and always has been an institution of mass hypocrisy. Anyone who's studied the history of the Magdalene homes in Ireland or who's following the current child-molestation scandal can see this. It's a wonder the Catholic Church still has any authority at all. In this context, there's nothing wrong with students questioning the "official" Papal hypocrisy and idiocy on social issues.

68. partly_cloudy - June 26, 2010 at 01:21 pm

lol, #43, I'll add:
5) It sickens me to think that people with such ignorant opinions based on stereotypes and age-old church misogyny, who can't figure out why it's better for individuals and society as a whole that young people have access to birth control and information about a perfectly natural human activity, actually work or have ever worked in higher education.

69. partly_cloudy - June 26, 2010 at 01:35 pm

I'm also glad the Chronicle was so gracious to feature these courageous students after publishing a piece of hysterical, pseudo-evolutionary-psych garbage this week about the "dangers of hooking up for young women." Young women are intelligent and responsible enough to have sex if and when they want it, and "hook-up culture" talk only perpetuates a culture where men are taught to be the sexual aggressors and women the "moral gatekeepers who are too pure to want sex," an extremely unhealthy relationship dynamic. Rather than the "hook-up culture," we should be talking about the culture of rape, domestic violence, coercion, and oversexualization of women that leads women to think their whole worth is in their vaginas and that men only value them for sex (which is, sadly enough, true of many men). :/

70. stinkcat - June 26, 2010 at 05:40 pm

Am I glad that so many of these comments are free of bias and stereotypes.

71. ericqm - June 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm

As a Georgetown undergrad, I'd like to add my thoughts: Ms. Shindel, I believe, would be taken more seriously if she were to avoid such great hyperbole. I was on campus this spring, and the day this group carried out their stunt cannot accurately be described as "freezing". More generally, readers may be interested to know that I think most students on campus just did not take "Plan A" very seriously. Some of their arguments treated facts pretty loosely. For example, one of Plan A's complaints was that the Student Health Center doesn't stock the HPV vaccine. It is my understanding that this is, strictly speaking, true. However, it has nothing to do with "justice" or lack thereof or the Roman Catholic identity of Georgetown. Rather, there just is not great enough demand for the HPV vaccine for the Student Health Center to justify keeping it in stock. This should come as no surprise to anyone, given that the vaccine is recommended to be given to, I think, young teenagers. Also, in response to number 47 and your comment about Mass attendance, I'm not sure if you are being serious or not. However, you might be interested to know that John Carroll (the man whose statue this matter concerns) founded Georgetown with the express desire that it would be a place for students of all faiths. Interested readers may wish to review these sites:



72. lfhs32 - June 27, 2010 at 08:34 pm

Is anyone else concerned that this girl is at GEORGETOWN and clearly doesn't know the difference between a right and a privelege? Who are we letting in our top universities?

Also, I'd like to clear up some obvious confusion about the Catholic Church. The Catholic faith has nothing to do with the moral actions of priests, popes, whoever. The Kingdom of God is beyond this world, and the failings of the human institution do not degrade the absolute truth of Christ our Lord.

73. mannd - June 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

Catholic institutions are never truly "private" when they accept plenty of my hard-earned federal and state dollars.

74. ebbetsfield - June 28, 2010 at 01:29 pm

Georgetown University is not the Catholic Church. It is not a seminary. It is a university which accepts students of all faiths or no faith. It hires faculty of a wide variety of views on religion. I commend these students for pushing Georgetown to provide access to a full range of reproductive health services which any student health clinic ought to provide. Simply because Georgetown is private does not mean it is exempt from laws of general applicability, like laws against sex discrimination. In the private employment world, Catholic-affiliated employers have been required to provide coverage for prescription contraception where their employee health plans cover other prescriptions, despite Catholic doctrinal objections. Catholic-affiliated hospitals have had to provide emergency contraception to rape victims in their emergency rooms. They serve the public and have to provide important services. If Georgetown wants to be considered a world-class institution of higher learning, it should not impose religious doctrine on all its students. Parents ought to consider the limits Georgetown imposes and think twice about sending their children to a place like this, just as women, if they have any choice in the matter, ought to think twice about going to a religiously-based health care provider who refuses to provide a full range of needed medical services.

75. supertatie - June 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Hey, moderator - you remove my original comment and leave other people's references to it, as well as anonscribe's insulting drivel? How very selective of you!

And speaking of reading a little history, anonscribe, your dopey and outdated ad feminem attack is right up there with, "I know you are, but what am I?" Yeah, "hooking up" is great. And so are genital warts, herpes and chlamydia. Really does a number on those "special parts" you think kids should share so freely.

Hey, everyone! Let's all jump up and down and brag about how many people we've slept (or are sleeping) with, since that's what passes for intellectual credibility with this adolescent.

You're not shocking. You're boring.

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