Some students and alumnae think so.
Alexandra Clark ended her search for a Catholic college about five years ago at Ave Maria University. She and her sister wanted a place true to their faith, a school that wasn’t “just Catholic in name only.” Clark graduated from Ave Maria in 2014, and while she loved her time there, she’s now not sure she’ll encourage her younger siblings to attend. “There’s things going on there that I wouldn’t suggest to them,” she said. Clark has joined other Ave Maria students, faculty and community members who have spoken out in recent months, sending 60 letters to the Board of Trustees with complaints that the university is lowering standards and losing its Catholic identity. Many attended a community meeting in March to discuss concerns with the administration. …Students have complained that a push to boost enrollment has led to a degradation of the Catholic identity. There have been complaints about loud parties, street harassment and public drunkenness. …A change in Ave Maria’s Angelus prayer also drew criticism from some students. The devotional prayer traditionally recited in Catholic churches, convents and monasteries is no longer practiced inside the school cafeteria. Clark said the tradition was moved outside because the administration felt it could be offensive to students who weren’t Catholic. She said students wrote letters to Towey looking for answers, which eventually came in a question-and-answer exchange published in the school newspaper, the Gyrene Gazette.