SLU must refocus on religious, Jesuit identity

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SLU must refocus on religious, Jesuit identity

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Since my freshman year at a Jesuit prep school, I have written my name in the upper left corner of quizzes, tests, papers and every homework assignment, along with the letters “AMDG” in the upper right corner. On a recent paper I turned in, my professor circled the letters and put a question mark next to them. This infuriated me and conjured up thoughts regarding the status of our university as a Jesuit institution. While Saint Louis University may have “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” in its logo and a Jesuit residence on campus, our nude statues outnumber our religious statues by quite a bit; we put a heavier penalty on drinking offenses than fornicating offenses; and we have distinguished professors who are unsure of what “AMDG,” the motto of the Society of Jesus, stands for.

Despite the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola on the Quad, a statue of Mary near Hermann Stadium, and a statue of Jesus sitting on a bench near College Church, religious art at SLU is very underwhelming. Our campus is full of nude — frankly, odd — statues. Instead of populating our campus with art that reminds us of our mission, we took down a statue of Fr. DeSmet, S.J., and the Native Americans he was praying with.  This statue was taken down because it was misunderstood and those against the statue didn’t realize the incredible respect that Fr. DeSmet had for Native Americans and the respect that Native Americans had for Fr. DeSmet in return.

After visiting and talking with students from the University of Notre Dame, I learned of their rules regarding underage consumption of alcohol and having students of the opposite sex in dorms past certain hours. They seem to put a heavier penalty on what violates moral law according to Catholic doctrine, than local and state laws regarding alcohol consumption. Meanwhile at SLU, a student can get away with having a student of the opposite sex spend the night in their dorm room, while a student that is found with an open beer in their room can face grave trouble from the university.

I believe that the concerns brought up above have lead to SLU’s straying from its Jesuit Catholic mission and the lack of emphasis on the cultivation of faith and justice in our students. Saint Louis University should strive to direct its professors in a way that they understand the history and mission of the Society of Jesus. Every student, administrator, and faculty member should know what “AMDG” means.