Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A college has a right to make its policies

but it shouldn't be getting public funds if its going to expel students just for being gay. Ernesto Scorsone, the only openly gay legislator in our general assembly, has called for state funds to help build a pharmacy school to be reconsidered after the University of the Cumberlands, a Baptist college, expelled a student for mentioning his boyfriend on MySpace.com. He was confronted by school officials and given a letter to vacate the dorm immediately, leaving his family and friends very upset about the school's action. Personally I wouldn't be attending a small Baptist college, being neither Christian nor heterosexual, but he and his family apparently thought it was the right fit and at the time he began attending (and paying the school tuition, mind you), there was no policy directly in place against homosexuality among students. That came the next year, and it was that policy that was cited when expelling Jason Johnson, who was a major in theatre arts and was due to stage manage a play last week.

The same policy incidentally lists sex outside of marriage an an expelling offence. I wonder how many students they'd have if they kept to the letter of that policy.

I hope Mr. Johnson will continue his education at a more open and welcoming university. In the meantime, it's become quite a controversy at the college, and rightly so. There are, of course, other gay students to consider. The environment is clearly not conducive to students being able to openly acknowledge who they are.

It's a shame that there are far more problems involved in being gay because of how society and individuals feel about you than in being gay itself. Being gay shouldn't ruin your life. It should be the same as being black, being left-handed, being a woman, being brown- or blue-eyed. It's a part of who you are, and not a part you can change or should be expected to change, and I think it's sad that in this case a student was expelled for daring to talk about what I assume is a loving relationship with another person, in a sort of 'don't ask, don't tell' kind of world. And yes, I hope this gets picked up by the national news and the national gay rights organisations, because it's a debate that needs to be out in the open.

Reaction grows to gay student's expulsion

Legislator says school shouldn't get funds

No comments: