BY CATHERINE TROLL
A group of Franciscan University of Steubenville students and faculty members gathered on Oct. 15 in the Gentile Gallery to discuss what constitutes appropriate music to be played during school events, particularly household dances.
Sponsored by Exc!te and facilitated by David Schmiesing, vice president of Student Life, the discussion focused on how dances can line up with the University’s mission, how Franciscan entertainment can more efficiently match that mission, and what role students and faculty can realistically play in making these decisions.
“As Catholics we’re constantly trying to integrate faith and reason in our daily lives, so it’s a very important thing to talk about,” said Schmiesing about the forum’s topic.
Schmiesing directed attention to Franciscan University bylaws, which state that one of the University’s goals is “to promote the moral, spiritual, and religious values of its students” and to “be guided by the example and teaching of St. Francis of Assisi.”
In light of this goal, students and faculty members discussed what sort of music is currently being played at household dances. Several issues were brought up, including realistic ways to censor music played at public events and the possibility of being too restrictive.
Suggestions for improvement were made as forum members considered that music played at public events often can be heard in more places than just the building of the event and by more people than just those attending the event. The effect of inappropriate music or even clean versions of inappropriate songs on students was also explored.
Although it was established that inappropriate songs are not played publically very often, it was also acknowledged that this does happen. This issue could be addressed by regulating playlists or having the DJs sign a contract agreeing to respect section III.B.2 of Franciscan’s bylaws.
Section III.B.2 of the bylaws says, “The University welcomes entertainment and recreational activities that upbuild the lives of those involved but opposes such activity when it promotes immorality, glorifies sin, or places students in compromising positions violating Christian modesty.” By agreeing to such standards, DJs would not be allowed to play songs that did not adhere to these stipulations, which could be specifically explained on the agreement form.
Students and faculty also discussed various possible repercussions of violating such a policy. They discussed the fact that the rule would necessarily be self-policed, presumably by household coordinators, who would be responsible for reporting inappropriate songs. A fine was suggested as a reasonable repercussion for playing an indecent song.
After the discussion about household dances, the forum shifted to focus on what kind of fine arts events students would be interested in attending. Professor Shawn Dougherty of the drama department brought up the possibility of hosting a ballroom dance for students if there would be enough general interest. Those present were in favor of the idea.
Whether a ballroom dance will be held and whether policies censoring music will be enacted remain to be seen.