If you all can endure one more opinion piece about the Living Learning Communities, let this one be it. I think we can all agree that the overwhelming backlash received was uncalled for, and that it was largely because of misrepresentation in the media. The truth be told, the DiversCity Q LLC welcomed anyone and everyone who was interested, and the majority of participants are allies (heterosexual supporters) looking for a way to show support and get involved. I think the only way to be more inclusive would be to invite Fred Phelps along as well, though I’m sure he’d decline our invitation.
Plus, I’m not sure you could segregate yourself on a college campus even if you wanted to. We’re all going to be a part of classrooms that incorporate students from across the campus and beyond. Given that the people already assigned to the LLCs will stay in those room placements for the fall, I feel that the administration has merely pulled the rug out from under the educational programming and faculty participation that goes with the LLCs. I guess the “academic achievement” part of our values got put on the backburner for this decision. I’d like to see those assigned to LLCs next year carry on with their planned programs, even though the title is taken away. If you feel that your subject is important to the dialogue on campus, I urge you to keep it going.
What I really want to comment on here though, is that other form of backlash the university received after the media frenzy. I believe Chancellor Victor Boschini referred to it kindly as, “individual issues” in the Skiff article on Tuesday. You know those comments claiming that Christian institutions should not condone “immoral” acts? That’s what really worries me. If there are people who can come to the university, graduate and become alumni, and STILL believe that the university should not support “those gays,” then that is a problem. If people see the university as an institution that would never, ever consider supporting the LGBTQ community, that is a problem.
I think it’s time for the university to come out of the closet and declare its support for its LGBTQ population. If you agree with me, you can join me today, at 11:45 a.m. in front of the Bass Building. We’ll be marching in support of inclusiveness and diversity and in celebration of the LGBTQ community on campus. This is by no means a protest, and we’re certainly not trying to create some kind of “us versus them” atmosphere on campus. It is purely a celebration of the LGBTQ population and their supporters on campus. I hope to see you all there united under this thing we call progress.
Shelly Newkirk is a sophomore social work major from Springfield, Mo.