LGBTQ+ PUC Students Discuss a Campus Kerfuffle

Along with faculty sponsor Bryan Ness, PhD, four Pacific Union College students of GASP (Gay and Straight People) discuss what recently happened on campus that created a lot of pain. They also share stories of coming out and explain why a welcoming campus witness can be a great Adventist recruiting tool.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12134

As a PUC alumnus, I am so very sorry these things are continuing to happen, and probably will continue as long as people keeping thinking that gender identity is a choice. That’s why groups like GASP are so important, if only for the beginning steps of educating staff and students. Thanks for the podcast.

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Even though I disagree with PUC’s sudden decision of not letting GASP participate and I don’t understand why PUC won’t accept GASP as an official group (yet they let professors promote themselves as a safe space) the ordeal is a true life lesson… We don’t always get what we want.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a utopia and therefore nothing will be “perfect”. The decision at the upper level was made, right or wrong, the decision should be respected (no matter how we feel about it).

With this said, there is nothing stopping anyone to learn from this situation and change things for the better in the future. It’s called change management.

Companies, managers/administrators at those companies, make decisions that they’re own employees don’t like or even customers don’t like. However, those decisions should be respected if people continue their employment or benefitting from a service/product. If the decision(s) is (are) not respected and change management is futile, there are other companies/industries to be employed by and receive a service/product from.

Last minute decisions happen, for whatever reason, whether they’re liked or not. We have to pivot and adjust accordingly, despite the change. This is part of life.

What did Jesus say, turn the other cheek? Forgive 70x7? This wasn’t just about forgiveness, this was also about moving on from people who have wronged us. Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from the mistakes and let God judge the situation; I’d rather have someone experience God’s wrath than my own.

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This is probably not a good recruitment event either for LGBTQI+ students or students of parents who are seeking a place that is different from “the world” to send their children to. The best way to introduce and increase acceptance is quietly and gradually as Andrews and WWU have been doing. Don’t make it so obvious an issue but influence students who might be on the fence to consider that they may not currently know all there is to know about their sexuality without alerting conservative parents and alumni that their children might find their true identities on campus. The takeaway is that this is making it harder for PUC administration to play both sides of the fence.

The reality is that parents sending their kids to college should not expect that they know their children’s sexual identity. College provides an open environment and blank campus away from the family structure and world of “taboo” where they explore and experiment to find out who they are or want to be. Obviously PUC has been operating just such a place but doesn’t really want to let everyone know it by publicizing the fact. This is a stealth approach that is still necessary.

I know they shouldn’t feel like they operate in the shadows, but had they become more publicized, that’s when the hammer would come down. The administration was probably trying to protect the continued existence of the group. The time will come when PUC will be openly “proud” but they’re not ready for the big reveal just yet. They need to get to nearly unanimous acceptance and a significant coming out to the point where it cannot be ignored or stopped without doing significant structural damage to the school. Once Pride DNA and PUC DNA are completely indistinguishable will the entire school be free to “come out” as an affirming institution where relationships of all (legal) types will be equally respected and students can freely engage and embrace their sexuality.

“The best way to introduce and increase acceptance is quietly and gradually …” Really? And what is the time line for that, should we use the women’s ordination as a guide or just wonder around for 40 years?

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