On the 200-level of the Frist Campus Center is a series of rooms housing support groups for students: the Women’s Center, the Davis Inter-national Center, the LGBT Center. And if one set of students gets their way, space may be needed for another support group: the Chastity Center.
The idea of a “chastity center,” or a “center for morally traditional students,” was proposed in a Feb. 18 opinion column in The Daily Princetonian by Brandon McGinley ’10, public relations chairman of the Anscombe Society, a student organization promoting conservative views on sexuality. The nonsectarian center would provide University-sponsored support to morally traditional students “who find it difficult to live out their commitments” in light of their “political marginalization,” McGinley wrote.
The proposal “makes such obvious sense,” said politics professor Robert George, a prominent conservative. “Students whose moral views run contrary to the hookup culture are looking for support and are having trouble finding it.”
Some students questioned the need for a new center, saying that the Women’s Center, LGBT Center, and similar groups were founded to provide support for students with inherent traits that have faced historical marginalization. “People are confused about why chaste students feel the need for such a center,” said Sara Viola ’08.
Students also expressed concern that the chastity center could be mistakenly seen as a counterpart to the LGBT Center. “It seems as if [promoters of the chastity center] are characterizing the LGBT Center as promoting a sexual lifestyle,” Viola said.
“We’re not claiming that same-sex orientation itself is an ideology,” said Sherif Girgis ’08, former president of the Anscombe Society and a 2008 Rhodes scholar. “But the University has already recognized the importance of institutionally supporting students on issues of sexuality, and chaste students could benefit from such support.”
Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life, said the University has no serious plans at this time to create a chastity center. “While I will certainly give the idea consideration, I’m not inclined to say that we should have a center for morally conservative students because I hope that the University is a center for all students."