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For shame, St. Edward’s

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, September 7, 2010 22:24 EDT
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Well, this is incredibly frustrating news to hear about my alma mater.

St. Edward’s University has notified an organization that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians that it will not be allowed to participate in an upcoming nonprofit internship fair because it does not fit in with the university’s Catholic principles.

The university declined a request from Equality Texas to recruit interns at the fair, which is scheduled for the morning of Sept. 15 in Mabee Ballroom. The group was notified of the university’s decision on Aug. 31 in an e-mail from Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Lou Serna.

I can’t help but feel this is a slide backwards. When I was working in the admissions office, basically all throughout my stint at St. Ed’s, we would occasionally get phone calls from freaked out super conservative parents about GLBT acceptance and how they were against it. The usual instigating event was thumbing through the school’s materials and finding GLBT organizations listed amongst student groups. You’d get a frantic phone call, and some higher up had to calm them down. I’m not sure what the parents thought would happen. Maybe they think their kids will be bopping along, craving sex with the opposite sex, and then run into a poster advertising for a gay rights groups and boom! Suddenly they’re getting all gay married. Or maybe they fear that their gay kids will start to believe that they have options and rights, instead of just going into the priesthood and hoping that they can successfully avoid temptation their entire lives.

Either way, it’s a huge disappointment to see the university give in to the bigots. Lindsay Marsh, also an alum of St. Ed’s and someone who used to work for Equality Now, replied on their Texas blog:

St. Edward’s mission statement says the university encourages its students to “confront the critical issues of society and to seek justice and peace.”

* Is equality not a critical issue of society?
* Is it not critical when Texans can be fired from their jobs simply for identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?
* Shouldn’t we all seek justice for this intolerance?
* Is it not critical when employers blatantly discriminate against employees by only providing healthcare to partners who are straight and married? St. Edward’s University falls into this category.

I’d like to think this was just the actions of a few imperious bigots, but who knows? When I was a student there, I remember someone writing an angry letter to the editor of the school paper about how he saw lesbians! kissing! in a parked car! by the library! And how the reaction of pretty much everyone I knew was to pass that letter around and laughing at it. And how the next week, there were even more letters to the editor calling him out for being such a miserable bigot. This kind of bigotry is the expression of a few people who need to mind their own damn business, and certainly need to cease activities that result in fewer internship opportunities for students.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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