on campus

Ashland University Won’t Let Him Form a LGBT Group Because It Focuses Too Much On LGBTs

Ashland University, the Christian-based liberal arts school outside Cleveland, allowed student William Cochran to form Respect, an official student group to “provide a safe space for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and their allies, and … work to educate and raise awareness of issues relating to LGBTQ people.” For a whole semester, Ashland’s administrators and the Student Life Office let that charade go on! But now Respect has been denied an actual chartership at the school. Sound queer?

Unless Respect changes its mission from “LGBT diversity” to “human diversity,” the show won’t go on. The inevitable Facebook group informs us: “Respect has recently been denied charter-ship at Ashland University. This means that Respect cannot reserve meeting space, advertise for meetings, or receive funding. Please show the university that we have a strong base of support! If you would like to speak up, you can contact the Student Life Office. Their information is on the AU website!”

Posts Cochran: “We have yet to be informed of a specific reason. We were asked to change our mission statement to remove LGBT completely, and replace it with human diversity. We felt that this overlapped with some organizations(Black Student Union, International Club, Ashland Center for Nonviolence). When we get the official letter, I will let you know exactly what happened.”

Yeah, an official letter is required to know what happened.

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  • Baxter

    I know I’m going to get heat for this, but I have no problem with a private Christian university not letting a student form a LGBT club. They’re completely within their legal rights and if this guy wants to start such a group, he should go to a school that is more LGBT friendly. If the administration truly believes that homosexuality is something that goes against their Christian values, then they should be able to say no.

    Obviously the school is being pretty cowardly by not giving him a straight answer about why it’s being shut down, but if he has a problem with it he should vote with his wallet and go somewhere else.

  • Blake J

    Assuming the university gets no funding of any sort from the government, they can discriminate as much as they want to.

  • j

    He’s cute though. Naieve, but cute.

  • Andy

    @Baxter: Jews and blacks go against my “values” so how about that?

    @Blake J: It’s time we stopped catering to bigots. If they want to be bigots, they can move to Saudi Arabia to be with their bigot brethren.

    Tolerance does not mean we tolerate the intolerant.

  • Bill

    Ashland University is a private not for profit educational institution. They do not accept any public funding. Therefore they are completely within their legal rights to discriminate, however wrong that may be.

  • Rick

    Wow. I can’t believe I missed this. I came out to my mom on the way to the Finance Office at what was then Ashland College where she signed papers to pay for me to go there. I was afraid that everybody would be carrying Bibles and saying ‘praise Jesus’ all the time, but I wanted to go because my research showed it was 1 of 2 schools in the state that had the best department for my major. It turned out to be crawling with closeted gays. Exactly what you would expect at a conservative Christian campus. These guys were all closeted and would cruise the restrooms for sex. One of the big donors to the school, the owner of a local rubber factory, had a wife and grown kids yet would hire ‘house boys’ from the college to work for him. He would offer them more money for sex. Every year, this rubber tycoon would go on vacation to visit a male friend in Florida, leaving his wife in Ohio. The only student I remember being openly gay was the Dean’s flamboyant son. And the head of the Psychology Department, who often talked about his ex-wife and 2 teen sons, was gay and dating a student. So this school would have lots of members if such an organization came to be. But first, they’d have to encourage everyone to come out of the closet!

  • Lisa

    Actually, Ashland does take federal and state funds in the form of federal and state grants, scholarships, and subsidized student loans. In addition, they are a non-profit entity and as such, exempt from taxes.
    Be that as it may, they indeed may be legally within rights to bar a GLBT affirming group, which is why we must continue to fight for all of our legal protections. And, even if something might be legal, that does not make it right.

  • Ben


    Hey Rick, what year was that? Was that eagle rubber company?

  • rbsilver

    hi, i was wondering did this ever get resolved. i can’t find anything on the school’s website or on the web. i live in ohio, in a school district that hires TONS of teachers and administrators from ashland. i have been trying to understand why our district is so backward when it comes to educational policies and i’m beginning to get a picture…

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