This Monday, SPU took an important step toward a more inclusive and grace-filled campus culture by finally deciding to grant Haven (the LGBTQ group on campus) club status.
Extra-curricular clubs are an important part of SPU’s student life and play a significant role in bringing together students with similar backgrounds and interests.
SPU sponsors 61 clubs ranging from the Black Student Union to the SALSA club to the Law Society.
Student clubs are a way for people with different ethnicities, political views and hobbies to further their learning experience and share their passions with the SPU community.
For years Haven has been fighting to gain club status, but was continually rejected. With so many other diverse groups represented, it was sad to see the LGBTQ community alienated. The decision to acknowledge Haven as a club speaks volumes about the type of university that SPU is becoming.
Being a Christian University, SPU holds to the biblical belief that homosexuality is a sin and has used that to justify their refusal to promote related activities.
As all SPU students know, before attending the university, students must sign and agree to certain lifestyle expectations.
Part of this expectation is abstinence from homosexual acts. While some complain that this clause is discriminatory, I do not see it as such because it is preceded by a clause against all premarital activities, hetero or homosexual. What is discriminatory is the refusal to represent all minority groups whether the administration agrees with their lifestyle or not.
The goal of Haven is to start discussion on all aspects of human sexuality. While the primary focus is on LGBTQ issues, they often talk about sexual health, stereotypes, and gender equality.
Junior Brandon Malde-Zoradi, co-leader of Haven, says that the goal of Haven is to be a safe place where people can share what is on their mind and bring up questions they might have without feeling embarrassed, like they might in a classroom setting.
Anyone who might have questions is welcome to the club, even straight people.
Malde-Zoradi states that they are grateful that SPU has been accommodating thus far and is thrilled that Haven has at last received club status and is finally officially recognized by the school.
They would like to be treated the same as everyone else because Haven is as much a diversity club as the others, Haven just discusses more sensitive issues.
Previously, there have been numerous LGBTQ students on campus who felt alienated by the administration based upon their sexuality. The inclusion of LGBTQ clubs sends a powerful message to SPU students, which is a grace-filled message of acceptance and support.
What initially attracted myself and many other students to SPU was their motto: “Engage the culture, change the world.” I am proud to see my university standing by that statement and showing their commitment to it through action and acceptance.
Truly engaging the culture requires us to step outside of our bubble and realize that there are many lifestyles that we as Christians may not understand, or be comfortable with. Nonetheless, we are called to show them love and support.
The previous decisions to exclude Haven were at odds with SPU’s motto and did not reflect the grace-filled teachings of Jesus.
The acceptance of Haven, whose mission it is to provide a safe space for students to talk about human sexuality, fosters a culture of grace and inclusion, making me proud to be a Falcon.
Natalie Pimblett is a junior political science major.