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January 26th, 2005 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Rogue of the Week

John Goldrick

In recent years, it has become a Valentine's Day tradition for college students around the country to stage performances of The Vagina Monologues to raise funds for women's charities. At the University of Portland, administrators have their own V-Day ritual: bringing the hammer down whenever their students try to join in.

Two years ago, former UP president David Tyson stepped in at the last minute to cancel a production of the play slated to be staged on the North Portland campus (see Rogue of the Week, Feb. 19, 2003). Eventually, the administration agreed to let Roosevelt High School host Eve Ensler's controversial play as long as the university wasn't linked to it.

Last year's production, hosted by UP's Feminist Discussion Group, nearly ran aground again after the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic watchdog group, noticed the school's name tied to the play on a national charity's website.

In fact, in late November 2004, John Goldrick, UP's vice president for student services, sent off a letter to the feminists stating that there will be heck to pay if they stage a production "either on or off campus" this Valentine's Day. (Specifically, he threatened cutting the group's funding and university affiliation.)

Goldrick's heavy-handedness earns him and his crew a one-way ticket to Rogue Town. While The Vagina Monologues is hardly a prime example of Catholic piety, other Catholic schools, including the University of Notre Dame, are planning similar on-campus productions in mid-February.

In a terse email exchange with UP's student newspaper earlier this month, he stated only that The Vagina Monologues "promotes behavior and conduct against the teachings of the Catholic Church." As for Notre Dame, Goldrick wrote that he was "unaware of the reasoning" that allows such a sinful production to go on in South Bend.

As of press time, the feminist group and its faculty advisor, Jeff Gauthier, are trying to find a way to let the show go on.

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