Thank you for your covering this recent controversy at UST in an objective and fair manner. One thing that is important to make clear is that not all UST alumni are “concerned alumni” who speak out against campus events designed to help make LGBTQ students feel welcome.
UST alumni are a diverse group with many different beliefs. Many, like myself, believe strongly that the University of St. Thomas should be inclusive and welcoming of all people. UST is blessed to be located in a diverse and vibrant community in a diverse and vibrant city that includes a significant population of individuals who identify as LGBTQ. It is vitally important that LGBTQ individuals both on and off campus be respected and afforded the rights they are guaranteed under law.
Part of the role of UST, and any university, is to prepare students for the world of professional work after graduation. In most roles with most companies that UST grads will find themselves, any sort of discrimination or disrespect of people based on sexual orientation would be immediate grounds for termination. This attitude of openness and understanding of difference should be modeled on campus to prepare our students for their future.
I very much do NOT want to be associated with UST alumni who seek to force their religious beliefs on others. I have always viewed UST as a place in which students of diverse beliefs are welcomed (and even actively recruited). While debates between liberal and conservative Catholic viewpoints may be decades from resolution, I, as a Catholic alumnus, have very little interest in debating the Catechism or Canon law.
What I am interested in is making sure all students at UST feel welcome and embraced as full members of the campus community. I am also interested in preserving the reputation of UST and its alumni.
So, I’d like to address members of the campus or alumni community who might feel betrayed, judged, or attacked. These actions do not reflect the viewpoints of all alumni or even all Catholic alumni. There is a place for all in this community. I would encourage other alumni who might share my views to make this known and become active members of the UST community in any way they can.
April Petronella, ’01
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