As alumni, current students, and concerned members of the community, we are dismayed that Calvin College has once again made the Princeton Review’s list of the top 20 least welcoming schools in the United States for LGBT students.
We don’t want to belittle the progress that we’ve made in recent years, nor do we wish to diminish ongoing efforts for inclusivity. When faced with the hard reality that the Princeton Review highlights, however, we feel that the response has been underwhelming at best.
Year after year we make the list. Year after year we’re told by school officials, “We realize that we’re not perfect, but we want everyone to know that they have a place on our campus regardless of their sexual orientation.”
This poll clearly shows that not everyone has a place on Calvin’s campus.
For those of us who previously or currently attend Calvin, we see the potential. We fervently believe that there is an incredible opportunity for Calvin to offer something unique to the world in providing a place for members of the community who identify as LGBT to be completely authentic. Many of us chose Calvin because we didn’t want to leave our spiritual expression to the wayside at a non-religiously affiliated school. Transgender, straight, bisexual, gay – we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Every year more students are coming to Calvin, searching for that place where they can be whole. When will we live up to that promise? When will we finally deliver?
The status quo is not sufficient when it’s a question of the well-being of our siblings in Christ be they transgender, bisexual, lesbian, intersex, questioning or gay. We must ask ourselves if we are willing to push another generation of people away from the church. There are many among us who are physically living, but emotionally and spiritually dying. When will we reach out a hand to them, when will we open our hearts with Christ’s compassion as our guide, when will we make room for them?
Welcoming and advocating for LGBTQ students is not acting unfaithfully toward denominational positions on homosexuality; rather it is acting in the wise, compassionate, ever-reforming character that the Reformed tradition holds to, and more than that it is acting in the nature of Christ's expansive love for all God's children.
We are excited about the future of Calvin College. By signing this petition, we affirm that Calvin has much to offer the world; as members of the LGBT community and their friends, family and supporters, we would like to be a part of that.