Dear Mr. Jordan,
My name is Chris Barringer. I graduated cum laude from SPU in 2005 and was a two-year member of the soccer team under Cliff McCrath. After earning my degree in political science, I went to work at the King County Council for three years writing legislation regarding public safety and government accountability issues. I am now in my final semester of law school at Seattle University where I'm spending it as an intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, The Netherlands. I'm proud of my career since graduating from SPU and am excited for my future in law.
The only part of my career I am consistently embarrassed about is my status as an alumnus from Seattle Pacific University. The lifestyle expectations are over-paternalistic and the university's policies are at odds with its mission statement. Engage the culture, change the world - I love this mission statement. It fosters inclusion and participation with others. The entire mission statement reads:
"Seattle Pacific University seeks to be a premier Christian University fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community."
How does the denial of a group, whose mission it is to provide a safe and private place to discuss personal issues like human sexuality, foster a culture of inclusion? How is this decision modeled after what a grace-filled community would do? It doesn't foster inclusion, and it is the opposite of grace. This decision sends exactly the wrong message to the rest of the student body. It says that the issues these students need to talk about are not worth the university's recognition. SPU needs to revisit this decision and consider espousing love before judgment.
I have to admit, I'm not surprised that SPU chose to deny Haven official status. But I'm entitled to hope for my alma mater to make me proud every now and then, right?
Class of 2005