After receiving criticism for indefinitely postponing a College Democrats screening of “Milk,” which chronicles the life of the United States’ first openly gay politician, the Catholic University of America has rescheduled the event.
University spokesman Victor Nakas said that the Office of Campus Activities approved the event, originally scheduled for Oct. 1, after a discussion with the CUA College Democrats.
“Following a discussion and review of the program’s education intent, the director of campus activities approved the rescheduling of the event,” Nakas wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The College Democrats indicated that they will attempt to reschedule the program so that it takes place within the next month.”
The university said it originally postponed the screening because of a miscommunication between the administration and the College Democrats as to the nature of the event. According to a statement from CUA spokesperson Victor Nakas after the cancellation, the administrators were confused by the event’s advertising, believing it to be an event centered on advocacy, rather than on LGBTQ awareness.
The College Democrats had distributed flyers, which had been approved at the time of the event, on campus advertising for the event that read, “Kick off LGBT Awareness Month with The CUA College Democrats.”
“When the request for approval had first been submitted by the College Democrats to the Office of Campus Activities, there had been no indications that the program would be a kickoff to LGBT Awareness Month. On Sept. 30, the Office of the Dean of Students was made aware of the advertising. For university administrators it called into question whether the event had changed in nature from one of education to one of advocacy,” said an Oct. 2 from CUA said.
Though no date has been set for the event yet, CUA’s College Democrats Communications Director sophomore Jackson Tovar said that no changes were made to the content of the original event.
“The event that was approved was the same event that was approved in September,” Tovar wrote in an email.
Tovar emphasized that the event was never meant to be one of advocacy.
“The university thought that the screening had switched from being an event of awareness to an event of advocacy, which was not the case,” he said.
As was planned for the original screening, the rescheduled event will feature introductory speeches by CUA alum Kevin Walling, the first openly gay chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, Md., and CUA professor of politics, John Whyte, followed by a screening of “Milk,” in which Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, an openly gay politician who served as a San Francisco supervisor until his assassination in 1978.
Because the university did not propose a later date for the event, students assumed the event was cancelled.
“We were all really confused about why the event was cancelled. To me, postponing means there is a later date. Since there was no later date, I considered the event to be cancelled,” Tovar said.
University officials said they never intended to cancel the event altogether.
“Given the confusion caused by the advertising, the Office of the Dean of Students contacted the College Democrats to postpone the event,” the Oct. 2 statement read. “It is our expectation that it will be rescheduled for later in October.”
Robert Mejia, a junior at Catholic University, said that students were surprised and unhappy that the university originally cancelled the event.
“I can’t speak for the whole student body, but we discussed the cancellation in one of my classes, and a few students seemed upset that the university suddenly cancelled the event when it had just been approved,” Mejia said.