In a recent letter to the editor, James Scarberry, class of TCU ’59, wrote “it has come to my attention that there will be gay living quarters on campus, sanctioned by the university.” This, Scarberry argues, is an action taken by the university that serves as “an accommodation to immoral living.”
I think it is safe to say that the members of the administration and the board of trustees are, or at least should be, primarily concerned with the accommodation of the students of Texas Christian University.
Many parents and students who pay tuition despite the rising costs would agree that the university has an obligation to accommodate its students, all of them, regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation.
If Mr. Scarberry were to read the Vision in Action Project Report, he would find an emphasis on community and diversity.
This report states that “the TCU undergraduate experience should consist of … a connection to the diverse communities to which we belong.”
The report explains that the “TCU undergraduate experience shall include diversity of every kind” which would produce, as a result, “students who embrace individuals from various cultures, ethnicities, economic, and political backgrounds, and anyone ‘different’ from themselves.”
I applaud the university’s efforts in defining a commitment to such an undergraduate experience. By doing so, the university made a commitment to promote a distinct and welcoming community, a community of Horned Frogs.
The emphasis on community and diversity strengthens the student community and, thus, the university as a whole, in its character.
It is this goal that led the Student Government Association to approve legislation expressing support for the creation of a resource center for LGBTQ students. But, in that same interest of community, I feel that providing separate housing for LGBTQ students would counter the principles defined by the university’s mission statements and commission. However, it is not my place to define the interests of the LGBTQ community. Rather, the Gay-Straight Alliance and the LGBTQ community must determine what is in their best interest.
The question of whether or not a policy provides “accommodation to immoral living” is not the type of question SGA, university officials and the members of the board of trustees are in a position to entertain.
As a professor of mine once said, “morality is one thing, law is another,” which means that law and policy are, and should be distinct from personal morality. Principles of law and the university’s own mission statements should drive policy within the university.
No matter one’s opinion regarding the moral stature of homosexuality, I think we can all agree that LGBTQ students at the university are students who deserve recognition as such. That is a simple fact, one which should always be held in consideration as the university proceeds to deal with this issue.
Lance A. Webb is a junior philosophy and political science major from Saginaw.