When I went to the Anthony F. Ceddia Union Building for a smoothie one day, I noticed a pamphlet titled “Commitment to Diversity.”
The pamphlet looked like one of those propaganda manuals in which everything is mentioned but nothing is really said. As I read though it, I was not disappointed in this regard.
To Shippensburg University, diversity means celebrating differences in ethnicity, disabled status and gender. The university’s official policy is to recognize these differences and no others. Unfortunately, this leaves SU very lacking in other areas.
Last fall, when there was an epidemic of bullying specifically targeting LGBT students in high school and college, the univeristy had a chance to stand up and recognize its LGBT population.
Instead, the university sends out vanilla statements saying how they do not approve of bullying of any kind.
For a problem that one minority group experienced, SU refused to even admit that there were people with different sexual orientations and gender identities on campus.
The pamphlets placed in the CUB are no different. Nowhere in the pamphlet is there a mention of SALE (Students Advocating LGBT Equality) or the LGBT Concerns Committee on campus. There is not even a mention of accepting the differences these groups present.
In the Swataney, it is more of the same. The acronym LGBT is not printed and protections for such students is not officially recognized.
To put it another way: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are invisible on campus.
They are people who face the toughest challenges in a conversative campus yet receive the least amount of support.
Is the current administration of the university so ashamed of the fact that there are people who do not fit into some societal norms?
Why even bother to print a pamphlet about diversity at all?
Accepting diversity does not mean picking and choosing one group or another to embrace as though people were items in an a la carte menu. Instead, accepting diversity in others means accepting all the differences people have.
As long as the university does not want to openly accept its LGBT population — as long as that population gets treated like a dirty secret — it cannot be said that the university is embracing diversity at all.
Quite the opposite: the university is embracing only those minorities which it wishes to embrace.
Would the university accept disabled people if there were no laws to protect them from discrimination? Would the university accept people of different ethnicities without civil rights laws?
The lack of commitment shown by the university to its LGBT population makes it appear as though they are following only that which they are legally required to follow. Whether something is right or wrong does not enter into the decision-making process.