By ASHLIE DAVIS
It is no secret that this semester has been eventful and at times tumultuous. We have seen students, faculty and administration all disagree on various subjects, which has not contributed to a good deal of unity on campus in a time of great need. However, this past week the faculty did come together on one issue; they voted to approach the Board of Trustees with a motion to extend the non-discrimination clause to include gender/ sexual orientation. Despite a unified faculty. The Board of Trustees denied this request. Upon first hearing this, I was outraged. If you had asked me a week ago if I thought this was included in our non-discrimination policy, I am certain I would have said yes. But as I began to think about all the implications that would have, I was less and less surprised.
The Board has stated that its reason for denying the faculty’s request is strictly business. The state of Kentucky does not require our institution to include this into its non-discrimination clause, and they feel that doing so could potentially open the school up to legal action. What this boils down to is that if Georgetown does not make a legal commitment to not discriminating in this way, potential employees cannot try to sue based on that claim. However, this does not mean that the Board wants or plans to discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation, but rather that they could protect Georgetown from such claims, be they true or false.
While I can acknowledge the legitimacy of these reasons, and I do think that they are true, I think there is another issue working under the surface and motivating the denial. Openness is not something Georgetown is necessarily known for, despite attempts at diversifying the look of our student body. But to make an accepting statement or policy concerning sexual orientation would seem, to some, contradictory to our Christian identity. It is the Board’s responsibility to guide the college and to ensure that our founding principles are upheld; however I think that in this decision they have made the wrong choice. As Christians, we are called to first love God, and then to love others as ourselves. This means doing everything in our power to live as Christ lived, accepting others even if they are different from us. With that said, I think it is important to consider what kind of message this sends to potential faculty members, as well as current faculty, who do identify themselves as gay, lesbian or transgendered. I have a hard time thinking they would see this decision as a business transaction. It sends a message that we, as an institution, are not willing to stand on our Christian principlesof love and acceptance and that we are afraid to have our spiritual strength tested. While this subject, as well as many others, are controversial, I challenge our campus, our faculty and our Board of Trustees to embrace those difficult issues, to allow open dialogue to happen and to truly represent the forward motion of our culture here at Georgetown.