DEVIANT BEHAVIOR focuses on the sociological theories of deviant behavior such as strain theory, differential association theory, labeling theory, and phenomenological theory. The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness, and drug use. The course focuses on structural conditions in society that potentially play a role in influencing deviant behavior.
3 credit hours
A spokesperson for the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio says the University is debating whether or not the description needs to be changed, but in a statement, the University, claiming the word “deviant” is merely a standard sociological term, notes “changing standard sociological definitions is beyond the scope of our work.”
So, too, is changing the teachings of the Catholic Church. As a Catholic university, Franciscan teaches “all the truths of revelation whether found in Scripture or Tradition as taught by the Catholic Church”
(Mission Statement, p. 6). To do otherwise would be a violation of our basic mission as a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition.
Homosexuality is not considered “deviant behavior,” according to every major medical organization. Homosexuality, in fact, is not a behavior any more than having blue eyes is a behavior.
“Members of a Franciscan University gay and lesbian alumni group on Facebook discovered the course description and have asked the school to change it,” NPR reports:
“As a lesbian and as a psychological professional, I found a couple of things offensive,” says Elizabeth Vermilyea, who graduated from Franciscan University in 1991 with a psychology degree. Today she’s working on a doctorate and consults with mental health organizations. She objects to including both mental health and homosexuality in that list.
“The state of the art in science on homosexuality is not that it’s deviant,” says Vermilyea. “The DSM — Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — has removed it … as an illness.”
NPR adds that “gay and lesbian alumni are not satisfied with” the University’s explanation.”
“What if you’re a gay student at Franciscan University? How are you going to feel if you’re sitting in that class and they’re putting you in the same category as murderers?” asks Gregory Gronbacher, who graduated from Franciscan University in 1990.
Gronbacher and Vermilyea contacted school officials, trying to get the course description changed. The university’s attorney responded instead with an email warning them not to use the university’s name or logo in their activities.
Franciscan University now faces questions from the group that accredits its social work program.
“The fact that homosexuality was identified in the course description as a deviant behavior raises a flag,” says Stephen Holloway, director of the office of accreditation at the Council on Social Work Education.
Holloway says there is a diversity requirement that includes sexual orientation in his organization’s accrediting standards.
“Understanding diversity and difference and their dynamics in society is critical for social workers to be effective in working with diverse populations,” explains Holloway.
Jeremy Hooper at Good As You calls this “[d]angerous and disgusting.”
The very thing that will lend “justification” to that one student who has strong and targeted ideas about what does and does not qualify as a physical education requirement.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.