Inaugural CURA event prompts dialogue

New student-led group hosts first event recognizing pro-choice and pro-life voices

By Marty Dubecky, Digital Communications Manager

Last Thursday marked the first event held by the Coalition United for Reproductive Awareness (CURA), a student-led group aimed at opening the door for dialogue about abortion and reproductive rights on campus.

After a protest recognizing the lack of pro-choice voices and the outcry of students on campus last November, student leaders Newswire Back Page Editor Kayla Ross, Newswire Multimedia Managing Editor Spencer de Tenley, Student Government Association (SGA) Senator Evan Nash, SGA Vice President Rebecca Thomas, Giuliana Sadler, Sarah Hissong and Maria Fulhorst came together to discuss how this problem might be solved. Meetings with President Colleen Hanycz followed, where the students and the president came to the consensus that Xavier’s campus needed an outlet to discuss reproductive health. 

From these meetings came CURA. 

Logo created by Sarah Hissong

This semester, CURA’s theme is “Beyond Pro-Life & Pro-Choice: Considering Abortion, Gender & Human Sexuality.” Thursday’s event wrestled with the theme via a bipartisan discussion with three professors. Theology professor Dr. Marcus Mescher and philosophy professors Dr. Bethany Henning and Dr. Alexis Dianda all spoke about reproductive rights according to their own beliefs and their respective fields of expertise. 

“We chose the professors that spoke by sending out a form to gauge faculty interest, and we were lucky enough to have Dr. Mescher, Dr. Henning and Dr. Dienda respond with their willingness to help,” Ross stated.

Mescher spoke about the Catholic ethics surrounding abortion and reproductive rights. Dianda and Henning both spoke about the morality around abortion, reproductive rights and human sexuality while employing personal and anecdotal stories. 

According to Ross, the desire to plan the event has been in the works for a long time. 

“We planned the event with the full support of Dr. Griffin and Dr. Hanycz, with months of coordination to produce something that could be intriguing to students as well as a learning opportunity,” Ross said. 

Photos courtesy of

Xavier philosophy professors Alexis Dianda (left) and Bethany Henning (center), as well as Xavier theology professor Marcus Mescher (right) spoke at the first event held by CURA last Thursday.

After each faculty member spoke to the audience about their own thoughts on abortion, reproductive rights and human sexuality, the floor was opened for students to ask questions. 

Students filled Arrupe Overlook to listen and ask questions of the three faculty members who spoke. 

“Given the short amount of time we had to plan this week’s event, we all had a vision of building some sort of community with and for one another. I feel we did just about that thanks to the help of Dr. Mescher, Dr. Dianda and Dr. Henning,” Fulhorst said.

“We know the event wasn’t going to be picture perfect and there’s always room for improvement, but I’m just so proud as a Jesuit institution we’re finally creating a sense a belonging with one another,” Fulhorst added. 

After the event concluded, Dianda spoke about the importance of having an organization like CURA and event like they put on. 

“If we can’t have these conversations, we don’t have a community. For me to say that I am pro-choice takes trust,” Dianda said. 

It is trust and community that CURA and its student leaders intend to cultivate through their events and campus activity. 

“I’m really proud of all the students who put work into this. We really wanted to create a space for students and faculty, regardless of their beliefs, to come together in a safe space to have a difficult conversation,” Thomas commented.

“I’m happy with the turnout, but our work is not done. So, be on the lookout for more events,” she added. 

CURA intends to hold more events next semester.