Administrators at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) initially refused to work with LGBT students and straight allies on campus to form a club known as the Haven, a safe space for all students to come together and talk about issues like bullying, harassment, discrimination, and homophobia. But after weeks of pressure from SPU students, alums, faculty and more than 3,000 Change.org members, SPU administrators reversed their decision and announced that they would find a way to move forward that allows the Haven to meet on campus. Students with the Haven sent a special message to the Change.org members that signed this petition: "Without the help of Change.org, we might not have been able to get this recognition. We really appreciate all your support."
Seattle Pacific University was founded in 1891. Looks like their policies are still stuck in the same time period, too.
That's because Seattle Pacific University recently ruled that a group of LGBT students and straight allies could not meet on campus, and could not be recognized as having official group status. The group, known as The Haven, hoped to be a place where students could go to discuss issues surrounding the intersection of sexuality and religion. Seattle Pacific University, after all, is a Christian college affiliated with the Christian College Consortium.
Yet instead of allowing students with The Haven the chance to discuss issues with one another and create a safe space for all Seattle Pacific University students, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jeff Jordan, ruled that the club was no longer allowed to be given meeting space on campus, and would not be considered an official campus group.
The decision has led students with The Haven to say that college administrators are trying to define LGBT students and straight allies "out of existence."
Send administrators at Seattle Pacific University a message that denying LGBT students and straight allies the chance to meet on campus, sends a damaging message about the school's priorities. Is Seattle Pacific University the type of place where speech and ideas related to sexuality and religion are censored? So much for academic freedom ...
Moreover, is Seattle Pacific University a place where when it comes to discussions about creating safe spaces on campus for all students, administrators shut the conversation down? That appears to be so, and it does a huge disservice to the reputation of the school.
As one student put it in the school's student newspaper, “They can define us out of existence all they want, but Haven will continue to meet on campus because there’s a need for Haven on campus."