Breaking the silence

Posted By Staff February 8th, 2011 in Opinions & Editorials : 5 COMMENTS

Dear Westmont,

We are a group of alumni who were moved by Artie Van Why’s letter in the November 16th Horizon. That article was not written by a Westmont student. However, it resonated for those of us who, as Westmont students, experienced doubt, loneliness and fear due to the college’s stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. We affirm, with Artie, that it does get better and hope that it will get better at Westmont too.

We offer our names as proof that LGBT people do exist within the Westmont community:


We allies support our LGBT friends and classmates:


This letter was originally signed by 31 Westmont alumni who identified themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. It also contained 100 Westmont alumni who voiced their support of the sentiments contained within. The Horizon is honored to have their trust as the original recipient of this letter, which has been published in its entirety online at westmontlgbt.wordpress.com as well as other print and online publications.

While personal opinions may differ on this subject, The Horizon would like to extend the love of Christ to the signers of this letter, and any other students, current or past, who would identify with its sentiments.

Despite The Horizon’s strong belief that, whatever individual views on the subject of LGBT individuals in the context of a Christian school may be, these individuals deserve to have their opinion heard on this contentious subject on the opinion page, the Westmont Administration’s legal counsel made contact and advised us that printing the letter in its entirety could be legally problematic for the Westmont administration, as The Horizon did not have legally admissible documentation of express permission and signed guarantees from each of the signees stating that they endorsed the letter.

The evidence we have received as to the veracity of said names was satisfactory to The Horizon’s editorial staff but not to the Westmont legal counsel, who strongly advised us against printing the names.

We are deeply saddened by this turn of events and are working on getting permission to print the 131 names. We are upset by the legal technicalities and strongly encourage you to visit westmontlgbt.wordpress.com to see the 131 names in their entirety.

-The Horizon Editorial Staff

5 Responses

  1. Chris Hayashida-Knight '00 says:

    As a signatory to the letter myself, I was disappointed to hear that Westmont’s legal counsel expressed concern about the “admissibility” of our names. I wonder, would the Horizon have been allowed to publish a similar list of alums if we were, for instance, expressing support for the women’s soccer team? Or encouraging participation in alumni giving? I suspect the legality of such a letter would go unquestioned, as has Westmont’s prejudiced posture toward GLBT people for so many years.

    • Chris, yours is a good point, and I’ll add this: as a religious leader in the Silicon Valley, I have signed my name electronically to a variety of interfaith statements about sensitive issues. These statements have been published in a variety of print and electronic media. Never have I been asked to confirm my electronic signature for legal purposes or for any other reason. Westmont’s legal advice doesn’t smells a bit like censorship to me.

      Ben Daniel ’90

  2. I am not a signatory of the letter, but I wish I had known about it in time to add my name those who stand is support of our GLBT sisters and brothers. Please speak my name while the others are silenced.

    And, if ever you need a pastor, who happens to be a writer with an international following to write in support of an acceptance of–and indeed a celebration of–Westmont’s GLBT community, do not hesitate to contact me at ben@bendaniel.org.

    Sincerely,

    The Rev. Ben Daniel ’90
    Pastor, Foothill Presbyterian Church
    San José, CA

    Author, Neighbor: Christian Encounters wiht “Illegal” Immigration.

    Blogger, Huffington Post

  3. Megan Delgado Jackson says:

    I also wish I could have added my name in support of those brothers and sisters who signed their names as being part of LGBT community. When I was at Westmont, there was a time of painful growth about race and ethnicity. Now the time has come for a true discussion about the places of those who are different, not because of their skin color, but because of sexual orientation.

    Our job as Christians is to affirm people, to love them, support them, and learn from each other. Westmont does so well responding to the needs of the poor, the forgotten, and the cast down every where in world, but it is forgotten on the campus. College is a time for growth, discovery, conversations, and wonderment, and Westmont will create that challenge if you let it. But if you decide to live the status quo, then Westmont will allow that as well.

    Don’t be the status quo and ignore a true need for discussion that the names have placed before you. These are people who had an experience at Westmont that they don’t want others to have anymore. Let the names, the words, and the names of the supporters be resources to help you create a meaningful dialogue to truly be there for everyone in the world.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Delgado Jackson ’03.

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