campus life

Lindenwood University’s Students Finally Got Their Gay-Straight Alliance. That Cannot Mention the ‘Gay’ Part

Administrators at Lindenwood University, the liberal arts school in St. Charles, Missouri, finally caved in and agreed to let students form a gay-straight alliance. So long as they don’t mention anything about sexual orientation.

Last week, after calling the proposed GSA “parochial and self-serving,” the school reached a compromise of sorts with students lobbying to set up an official group on campus. It will be called Spectrum Alliance, and officially it’s a “social justice” organization, because administrators also required it to include “other students in need of understanding and support.” And that’s good enough for Jack Sago, the grad student who led the project. “I think at the end of the day, we accomplished our goal. … It’s still an LGBT group. We can pick our own topics, speakers and own events and functions.”

Why form an officially sanctioned GSA in the first place? Because doing so means Lindenwood’s resources, and fundraising, are at the group’s disposal. But also because of the message it sends: That Lindenwood is an inclusive university.

And yet it was anything but when, on Feb. 5, student activities director Kerry Cox rejected the group’s application, telling Sago in a letter: “The rationale for organizing the club does not meet either our educational or our social service criterion for approval. Rather, its principal purpose appears to be the support and promotion of a particular lifestyle. [… Such a group] does not coincide with the traditional values of Lindenwood University.”

Lindenwood does, however, have seven student groups specifically devoted to Christianity.