New statement marks progress
Published: Thursday, May 5, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Grace Simmons and Burnell Holland submitted this statement in conjunction with the movement for equality, a coalition of students, faculty, staff, Jesuits, and the 2004-2005 Undergraduate Government of Boston College.
The spirit of the community of Boston College marked this year as one of unprecedented collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and Jesuits in their definitive support for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community. On April 15, over a thousand voices joined together to articulate a widespread conviction that our University's Notice of Nondiscrimination statement needed to include the equal standing of "sexual orientation" to defeat a wrongful perception of neglect and marginalization toward members of our community. The Rally for Equality was a product of the dedicated and mobilized students who led a movement that sought to bring to the forefront a message of unity and inclusiveness; this message reflected the values of faith and social justice that are part and parcel to our Jesuit Catholic tradition.
Students, faculty, and administrators are actively committed to a change, which enabled us to engage in the negotiation process with University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., General Counsel Joseph Herlihy, Vice President of Student Affairs Cheryl Presley, and Dean for Student Development Robert Sherwood. We worked collectively to fashion a new statement that would appropriately reflect the wishes of students, faculty, and staff while respecting the demands upon the University as a Jesuit Catholic institution.
Our discussions, coupled with conversations among the student movement, resulted in a vastly improved statement that is noticeably more welcoming and affirming to all communities, and in that regard we are particularly pleased. The new statement is, however, not perfect, in that it does not equally include sexual orientation in every facet of the clause. We are disappointed that the revised clause continues to separate sexual orientation from other groups in regard to discrimination when the welcoming address preceding this distinction so accurately and vividly represents the culture of our University. But most importantly, the new statement is a milestone but not an end. We feel fortunate to keep a seat at the table with the University leaders who are enabled to make a change in the future. With this, we are very hopeful that in the year ahead, students, faculty, and staff pledged to work toward full equal standing will do so with a moral responsibility to treat one another with a respect that affirms the dignity of each individual. No place better prepares a community to accept this call than a Jesuit Catholic institution like BC - a place that promotes an altruistic commitment to love and justice.