DU, Christianity: A questionable connection

When one hears of Dillard University there are several thoughts that may come to mind. These thoughts may range from the gleaming white buildings and spacious green lawns that are noted in our school song, to the large, openly homosexual presence that is unmistakable throughout the university.

In the past few years, there has been a substantial movement toward gay rights, and because of this, some say it is inevitable to deal with it in roughly all areas of life. Ranging from religion, work, to even school. The fact that sexual preference is becoming an even larger aspect in collegian life is causing an abundance of emotions and feelings.

If one were to walk into a banquet for Dillard University’s class of 1985, it is very unlikely to find any previous "Miss Ugly Pageant" winners or any members of the "One People" organization. Is that enough to say that all the members of the class are heterosexual? Of course not. That raises the question: Why is a student’s sexual orientation so easily visible at an institution of higher learning?

"I feel college is a place for expression," said James Moore, a junior political science major at the University of Memphis who is openly gay. "This is who I am, and I feel that the world should accept me for that. For me to conceal the person I feel inside would be like compromising my life, and I would not do that for anyone."

Dillard University Chaplain Rev. Gail Bowman described the movement toward open sexuality on a college campus as "inevitable."

"We are a community, and we are all called by God to interact. This is a place where all people learn," Bowman said.

Dillard University sophomore Sam Samuels described the large, openly gay population on Dillard’s campus as "sickening and a plot by the university to gain enrollment by showing tolerance."

"Being from Florida, the only image I had of Dillard was one of a prestigious, historically black university with Christian roots. I get here to find that homosexuality is not only tolerated, but encouraged," Samuels said.

Comfort is a strong issue in this debate. But comfort for whom?

Some students of heterosexual orientation said they feel uncomfortable in class and in dormitories with openly gay individuals. Some even say they would not have chosen Dillard to further their education if they would have known homosexuals were given the opportunity to openly express their sexual orientation, especially at what is said to be a Christian institution.

The overall well being of the university is always a main concern. The encouragement of self-expression could be viewed as a reason some people choose to live so openly.

What can be done to deal with this unavoidable issue? Rev. Bowman said, "We should talk more. With talking comes understanding. We must maintain peace through disagreement.”

As for now, the issue is in a number if stages depending on the person you ask. Some would say Dillard is making strides for equality, while others say that Dillard is tarnishing its long-lived Christian image for a fad of social -expression.

What would you say?