Jump directly to the Content


GLBT Issues Surface on Gordon's Campus

Student govt. says no to GLBT support club, other college offices consider hosting it.

A recent proposal to start a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender support club at Gordon College, a top evangelical liberal arts school in Wenham, Massachusetts, was rejected by the college's student association 7-6 three weeks ago. Since then, discussions have continued on campus regarding how best to address students wanting the club while upholding the college's biblical teachings on homosexual behavior.

The student association stated that such a group was needed, but that it did not fit best as a student government?affiliated entity. Soon after their decision, a subcommittee met to discuss the question of what office the group should formally affiliate with, if at all. Dean of Students Barry Loy said the group would likely fall under the auspices of his office, but that no official decision has been made.

The proposal was spearheaded by senior Tania Green, a heterosexual who says she got the idea for such a group after Soulforce, a nationwide gay-rights bus tour, came to Gordon's campus in 2007. (See CT's prior coverage on Soulforce's visits to several U.S. Christian colleges.) Alongside the Soulforce visit, the circulation of an independent magazine telling the stories of 12 gay and lesbian Gordon students has pushed conversation about GLBT issues on Gordon's campus to greater immediacy.

Green met with several staff members for feedback on her proposal, including Loy, provost Mark Sargent, the director of Gordon's counseling center, and faculty adviser Paul Borgman. Green said that overall, faculty responded positively to the proposal, but encouraged her to change the name of the group from Gay Straight Alliance to Spectrum, citing the former's association with gay advocacy. Spectrum is being proposed as a forum in which GLBT Gordon students can meet and discuss their experiences, not as a pro-homosexuality group.

"Now there is a big concern to address that there are kids on campus (who are gay)," Green said. "Conversations are happening that have a personal quality to it."

"I think there is a need for our GLBT students to grow and not feel ostracized," said Loy. "I have been very impressed with the thorough discussion and thoughtfulness (the students have put in) at a very busy time of year." Gordon's commencement was last Saturday, May 17.

Further media coverage:

A Place Where Voices Can Be Heard: Gordon College students advocate for same-sex acceptance on campus. (The Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle)

Letter to the Editor: College's effort do deal with gay lifestyle more complicated than portrayed. (Abigail Geer, Salem News)

Campus Club Rejected: Vote against gay support group leaves some Gordon students feeling isolated. (Salem News)

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Read These Next