Another letter to add to the stack. (Campaign web site here, back story here, contact info for Dean Jordan here, and you can copy me on whatever you send him here.)

Dear Dean Jordan,

I am writing today to express my disappointment with Seattle Pacific University (SPU) for refusing to communicate with the student group Haven and continuing to refuse them official club status. As an SPU alumna, I had hoped to support SPU financially following my graduation as a way of honoring my time there. But based on the ongoing mistreatment and subjugation of Haven, I am directing my financial donations elsewhere and will not be supporting SPU until their policy toward Haven changes and Haven is granted official club status.

I cannot rightfully devote my financial resources to an institution which operates inconsistently with it’s self-designed moral code. The Non-Discrimination Policy of SPU’s online Student Handbook explicitly states that, “It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations.”

Conversely, SPU’s five-year-old Statement on Human Sexuality lists ‘male’ and ‘female’ as the only categories (set forth by God) for gender identification to state that all “discussions and considerations of human sexuality, therefore, take place within the context of these assumptions.” So, when SPU says it will not tolerate discrimination “on the basis of sex,” what it really means is that discrimination will not be tolerated only when the recipient of this discrimination agrees to adopt SPU’s interpretation of gender: one identifies consistently and permanently as either male or female and maintains sexual attraction only to a member of the opposite identification in “a commitment [that] is part of God’s plan for human flourishing.”

I concur that, as a private university, SPU maintains the right to “affirm that sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman” and to place consequent restrictions on any sexual activity that differs from this definition, as it does in it’s Lifestyle Expectations document: “Cohabitation and related forms of premarital, extramarital, or homosexual sexual activities … are subject to disciplinary action.” What I cannot abide is the unmitigated liberty SPU takes with these viewpoints by citing them as justification for the exclusion of student groups like Haven.

Haven is forbidden from meeting on campus, organizing events that take place on campus grounds, and most importantly, attaining ASSP club status. Without this status, Haven is completely subject to the personal guidelines (or lack thereof) set forth by you, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Student Life. And it’s unfortunate that Haven was assigned to you (and not some other unlucky staff member) because, while you believe that "conversations of human sexuality are important for students," gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/queer students are subject to a special dispensation that excludes them from your consideration. You seem unconvinced by the stated purpose of Haven to be "a safe place for discussion rather than an advocacy group for homosexual behavior" and act on this suspicion without regard for the emotional, social, and spiritual welfare of students who have and will continue to benefit from this group (not to mention the entire SPU student body).

I know you’ll be disappointed, Dean Jordan, to receive this letter, but I am unable to financially support an institution which claims to ‘engage the culture’ while silencing select members of it’s student body and maintaining inconsistent guidelines regarding the protection against discrimination for such students. Please feel free to contact me again once SPU recognizes Haven as an ASSP club and guarantees the same rights to Haven as it does all other ASSP clubs.


BrittaLisa Gess
Class of 2008