At the Victors for Michigan launch event Nov. 8, a T-shirt was sighted with the message “Victors for Moral Antigayism,” alongside an image of a cross. While we don’t know the individual who chose to make and wear this message, nor his motivations, we invite him to meet with us as leaders of our respective faith-based groups. We welcome the opportunity to share with him why we feel there’s no place at the University of Michigan — or anywhere — for hatred or anti-gay activism, especially associated with a religious symbol. As faith leaders on this campus, we seek to create positive spaces for students to deepen their religious and spiritual beliefs, while also respecting the diversity of views and identities that exist on this campus. Messages like this serve to intimidate and alienate other students, at an event that was intended to bring our victors together in a positive, affirming space.
We support and reinforce this student’s right to hold strong religious beliefs that guide his morals, ethics, values and actions. Associating a cross, however, with an anti-gay message does not represent the values of many of our Christian and other faith-based groups on campus. Many of our organizations are actively inclusive of the LGBTQ community, and several are certified allies through the Spectrum Center’s Ally Development Training program. The Victors event was about showcasing “the Leaders and the Best” that this campus offers. The presence of an anti-gay message had no place at the event or on this campus. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Student Life and the Office of Development to ensure our motto of Expect Respect is upheld on our campus.
Kelly Dunlop is the associate director of Campus Catholic Ministry. Ernestine Griffin is the minister for Unity On Campus Ministry. Reid Hamilton is the chaplain of Canterbury House. Dr. Bruce D. Martin is the executive director of the Ecumenical Center & International Residence. Bob Roth is the Chaplain and Director of the Wesley Foundation. Mohammed Tayssir Safi is the chaplain and director of The Felicity Foundation. Tilly Shames is the executive director of Hillel. Paul and Stacey Simpson Duke are campus ministers at The Gathering (American Baptist Campus Foundation). Sue Sprowls is the campus pastor for Lord of Light Lutheran Campus Ministry.