When I attended Purdue University, I did my best to avoid The Exponent, the student newspaper. The reporting seemed (more than) a little lacking, the articles were frequently riddled with spelling and grammar errors, and I always tended to be more interested in U.S. politics and world affairs than the latest updates on the ice cream socials hosted by the student organizations. If I did read it, I would immediately flip through to the Letters-to-the-Editor section, which seemed to always attract the, erm, more colorful sections of the student body.
Resident provides suggestion for LGBT youth
Many of us are getting a bit tired of hearing about the demands of Purdue’s so-called gay and lesbian community. I suspect that many of those most vocal are probably out-of-state students. I have to ask why did they apply to Purdue in the first place, if all they are going to do is complain about it? These petulant children have ‘gay friendly’ schools in their home states, and the Hoosier troublemakers (if any) should have applied to Bloomington. As a Christian, I hate the sin, but love the sinner. I see no reason to destroy these people, but they should not be working to destroy our Boilermaker values either. So the best solution for all concerned is for Purdue to set up some kind of Director of Gay and Lesbian Issues on campus, someone well versed in transferring academic credits and the application process, so these young people can be directed to better pursue their values and ‘interests’ unhindered in more accepting institutions, and traditional Boilermakers who love Purdue and are happy with it as it is can better pursue our own values and interests as well.
Harlan VanderMeer, West Lafayette resident
It’s very possible that the writer is a Poe, and I know that editors frequently choose the most inflammatory or controversial letters for publishing, but I also realize that there will be a decent chunk of the readership that agrees with him. While the university exists in a more liberal bubble, the surrounding community is predominantly conservative Christian. Around campus, it’s very, very common to see Christian preachers proselytizing in the common areas during warmer months — sometimes even the students themselves take on the role of street preacher.
For those who might be in agreement with Mr. VanderMeer, I’d like to offer my own letter in response:
Unfortunately, since you have chosen to attend a public university, your opinion on what sort of person should attend is beside the point, and the fact that you would put your personal preferences regarding your college’s culture over the right of a specific minority to attend in the first place says much more about your version of “love” than the empty lip-service you pay when you appeal to your religion. Had you bothered to consult any of the “so-called” GBLT individuals your letter was directed to, you may be surprised to find that many come from the Hoosier state, and many are quite principled individuals, just like you and me. You mention “Boilermaker values” as if your values are represented by the rest of the student body, but Purdue’s Statement of Integrity contradicts the principles you espouse. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis mine):
We champion freedom of expression. To ensure our integrity, we safeguard academic freedom, open inquiry, and debate in the best interests of education, enrichment, and our personal and professional development. We embrace human and intellectual diversity and inclusiveness. We uphold the highest standards of fairness, act as responsible citizens, respect equality and the rights of others, and treat all individuals with dignity.
You generously state in your letter that you don’t want to “destroy these people.” Is this all of the love and compassion, Christian or otherwise, that you can muster? Can you not see that your attitude, beyond failing to meet the ethical standards put forward by the university, is also abysmally lacking as a human being? At the very least, forego the hypocritical language of claiming to “love” the group of people that you would like to banish.
Mr. VanderMeer, it is solidly within your power to help solve some of the problems in the LGBTQ community that annoy you so much to hear about. A good first step would be to shed some of that bigotry that you’re wearing (not a good look for anybody). Following that, a good second step would be to introduce yourself to the community with an open mind, as you may find that they are less likely to “whine” about allies instead of enemies.
A Fellow Boilermaker