To the Editor:
I wanted to discuss the moral outrage I am feeling with St. John’s University, as a paying student. This school is currently ranked number 7 on the list of most diversified schools in the entire country – yet I feel that it is a sham. St. John’s rank can only be validated, logically, if one can show that it is truly diverse.
A School needs to show that ALL diversities are accepted, welcomed, and supported on campus – and the sorry reality is that they are not, at least here at St. John’s. If the title of the list was the country’s top “selected diversities” then St. John’s could claim its rightful place. I am disgusted and outraged at the University’s conscious neglect of an entire sect of students – the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered group. I am completely aware of the University’s Catholic roots and determination to follow the letter of the doctrine published by the Vatican.
The question that arises then, is it acceptable, as a consumer, to allow a place of higher education put more stock on a Church, and less on the students it is meant to serve? The primary purpose of a university, above all things, is to support the needs of the students, where ever and whenever they arise. This University has consciously and very clearly dismissed an entire group of students’ outcry for acceptance and respect. Is it really against the teachings of the Church, which in its own publications call for the acceptance of homosexuals everywhere, to allow students to form a LGBT group or organization on campus?
The University has begun to develop and is soon to launch the program called “Safe Zone” which is meant to provide
the LGBT community with appropriate and well-trained resources to go to.
This group was a joint-task program started by administers and students, to help the University’s LGBT have one resource on campus directed towards them. In addition, the University has claimed to integrate homosexual issues into the already running programs on tolerance, acceptance, violence, and bullying. But when it boils down to it, is that good enough? For me, the answer is a resounding NO!
The question that must arise on a reasonable person’s mind is why are LGBT students denied to create an organization like a Gay/Straight Alliance, when every single student minority, interest, majority, or hobby has an outlet in the form of a club or activity on campus? Does the message of creating a small and extremely limited group of administrators and hand selected students, resound acceptance, or does it tell onlookers that we’re looking for smokescreen without meaning what we print on the procedures?
We are meant to be Catholic – the universal – which accepts all people from everywhere no matter what. We are meant
to be Vincentian – the guardian of the vulnerable – which protects those who need shielding from the harsh realities of the world. We are meant to be Metropolitan – the mixture of cultures – which brings together the different backgrounds of the world to co-exist harmonious. St. John’s in meeting these three aspects FAILS miserably.
I hope this letter finds its way to every administrator, advisor, professor, doctor, provost, dean, and president at
this university to serve as a wake-up call. Wake up and see that your failure to act is directly harming the students you are meant to protect and serve. Wake up to the reality that if you care about your students, then you would listen to what they tell you they need and want. Wake up to the fact that the world is changing, and you may have your traditional mind-set and deep seeded values, but those cannot impede on your students who look to you for knowledge, acceptance, and guidance. Wake up St. John’s and open your eyes to the twenty fi rst century.
Class of 2011