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'Hookup culture' making inroads on American Catholic campuses

Catholic World News - June 16, 2011

A “hookup culture” of casual encounters has “become the dominant script for sexual and romantic relationships on Catholic and secular campuses,” according to a new study from the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS).

The study by Anne Hendershott and Nicholas Dunn, sponsored by the CNS Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, found that the “hookup culture” is often fueled by heavy alcohol use, and facilitated by residence-hall administrators who take a laissez-faire attitude toward students’ activities. The report found that the problems of excessive drinking and recreational sexual activity are particularly acute in coed dorms.

The CNS report appears just after John Garvey, the president of Catholic University of America, announced that the school would return to housing all resident students in single-sex dorms. Garvey explained that the move was prompted by studies showing that coed dorms were associated with more binge drinking as well as more sexual liaisons.

Even on Catholic campuses, the CNS report finds, college officials are often reluctant to provide students with clear moral guidance:

Today, it appears that many student life administrators have moved from a pro-active role in helping to facilitate healthy pair bonding to a reactive role in helping to pick up the pieces and repairing the very real damages when a degraded campus culture of casual sex emerges.

The CNS report does notice an encouraging sign: the emergence of a countercultural movement among committed students who are determined to practice and promote chastity even without strong support from adult administrators.

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jun. 17, 2011 8:21 AM ET USA

    Coed dorms and alcohol binge parties are like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenager. I'm glad some Catholic colleges as well as countercultural pro-chastity students are seeing that bit of common sense and acting accordingly.

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