Thursday, August 8, 2013

Higher Learning

Charleston Southern University is a Christian College located in Charleston, SC. One of their students, Stephen Lovegrove, was majoring there in religion with a minor in communications. He had a 3.8 GPA and evidently showed good leadership, as he was a dorm resident advisor.

Stephen just happens to be gay. Stephen also happens to use the internet. Stephen was recently removed from his resident advisor position at Charleston Southern University. The University told Stephen that parents could Google his name, call the school, and say they aren't comfortable having their student in a dorm with a gay individual.

I Googled Stephen's name. Stephen and I don't share the same religious beliefs but we have a lot of things in common. I loved checking out his style board on Pinterest. Through reading his Twitter it's very evident Stephen's religious beliefs are a very important part of his life. What parents will see when they Google Stephen's name is someone who's intelligent, fun, supportive, and faithful.

Charleston Southern University had an opportunity to educate any parent who might have called and have been worried about there being gay Christian person in the dorms. They could have used this as an opportunity to explain that Stephen was an exemplary student. They had an opportunity to dispel the ignorant notion that a student would somehow be in any kind of danger because a person who just happens to be gay lives in the same dorm. Not to mention, since sexual assault on women is a problem on campuses, they had an opportunity to say sexual harassment in any form is an issue the University takes seriously and that conduct from anyone would not be tolerated.

Instead, Charleston Southern University has chosen to make homophobia part of its marketing package to prospective students. They have chosen to send a message that Christians who just happen to be gay need not apply. They have chosen to send a message that faith isn't the most important thing to them, fear is. They have chosen to send a message that knowledge isn't the most important thing, ignorance is.

The University didn't expel Stephen and they say they planned to offer him another job with equal pay. This is not inclusion. This is not equality. Stephen won't be attending Charleston Southern in the fall. He feels it's not a healthy environment for him. Wherever he goes, I'm sure when people Google his name they'll see a person who is genuine and genuinely awesome.

1 comment:

  1. I attended CSU for 2 years.
    It was terrible if you weren't a cookie cutter Christian and i wasn't.