Alum Challenges DeSales' Sex Orientation Stance
Online petition claims DeSales University denied student-run LGBT/Pride clubs to form numerous times, challenges university to live up to motto "be who you are and be that well"
An online petition currently circulating hopes that DeSales University will reconsider the decision to not allow a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) student-run organization on campus.
DeSales alumnus Tim Gallagher posted a petition on Change.org early Monday in response to repeated denials by university officials to allow an LGBT student group to form on campus. The story first broke on local blog Lehigh Valley with Love.
The petition reads:
Each student at DeSales University is told repeatedly to "be who you are and be that well" per the direction of St. Francis de Sales. This is a wonderful motto but currently excludes LGBT students and alumni. The university has repeatedly denied requests to allow a Gay Straight Alliance on campus and has even turned down an application for a PRIDE DSU club which sought to celebrate diversity on campus. Meanwhile, 16 Catholic Colleges in Pennsylvania have officially recognized pro-homosexual clubs, LGBTQ Resource Centers, or student organizations according to a recent poll.
IT IS TIME that we stand up for our fellow bulldogs and allow each person to live out the Salesian motto and "Be who you are and be that well" without threat of persecution or harassment.
The lack of an LGBT organization sends a message to prospective students, says Equality PA president (and Lehigh Valley resident) Adrian Shanker. "Having a student-run [LGBT] organization on campus is certainly an indicator as to whether the campus will be an affirming and welcoming place for students," said Shanker. "It's certainly not a surprise that the campus lacks a student group, but it does send a signal to those considering the college."
DeSales also lacks a sexual orientation clause in its non-discrimination policy.
Other colleges in the Lehigh Valley -- Lehigh University, Lafayette College, Moravian College, Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College -- all have student-run LGBT organizations, as well as non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. Kutztown University and Northampton Community College also have LGBT groups on campus and non-discrimination clauses. Lehigh Carbon Community College has a non-discrimination clause.
"It sends the message that 'we don't want LGBT students here,'" said Shanker. "DeSales may have to right to, and may be legally allowed to discriminate, but why would they want to?"
DeSales publications department spokeswoman Laura Zielinski told Patch that no one was available to comment at this time. Gallagher, who was honored his senior year with the McShea Leadership Award, sat down to speak to Patch exclusively Thursday morning. "I Love DeSales, it's an amazing university with fabulous faculty, staff, and students," said Gallagher. "But it's time for DeSales to live up to it's motto and help students thrive."
Patch will have more from this interview in Friday's follow-up article.
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