Alum Challenges DeSales' Sex Orientation Stance

Online petition claims DeSales University denied student-run LGBT/Pride clubs to form numerous times, challenges university to live up to motto "be who you are and be that well"

An online petition currently circulating hopes that will reconsider the decision to not allow a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) student-run organization on campus.

DeSales alumnus Tim Gallagher posted a petition on Change.org early Monday in response to repeated denials by university officials to allow an LGBT student group to form on campus. The story first broke on local blog Lehigh Valley with Love.

The petition reads: 

Each student at DeSales University is told repeatedly to "be who you are and be that well" per the direction of St. Francis de Sales. This is a wonderful motto but currently excludes LGBT students and alumni. The university has repeatedly denied requests to allow a Gay Straight Alliance on campus and has even turned down an application for a PRIDE DSU club which sought to celebrate diversity on campus. Meanwhile, 16 Catholic Colleges in Pennsylvania have officially recognized pro-homosexual clubs, LGBTQ Resource Centers, or student organizations according to a recent poll. 

IT IS TIME that we stand up for our fellow bulldogs and allow each person to live out the Salesian motto and "Be who you are and be that well" without threat of persecution or harassment.


The lack of an LGBT organization sends a message to prospective students, says Equality PA president (and Lehigh Valley resident) Adrian Shanker. "Having a student-run [LGBT] organization on campus is certainly an indicator as to whether the campus will be an affirming and welcoming place for students," said Shanker. "It's certainly not a surprise that the campus lacks a student group, but it does send a signal to those considering the college."

DeSales also lacks a sexual orientation clause in its non-discrimination policy.

Other colleges in the Lehigh Valley --, , and -- all have student-run LGBT organizations, as well as non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. Kutztown University and also have LGBT groups on campus and non-discrimination clauses. has a non-discrimination clause. 

"It sends the message that 'we don't want LGBT students here,'" said Shanker. "DeSales may have to right to, and may be legally allowed to discriminate, but why would they want to?"

DeSales publications department spokeswoman Laura Zielinski told Patch that no one was available to comment at this time. Gallagher, who was honored his senior year with the McShea Leadership Award, "I Love DeSales, it's an amazing university with fabulous faculty, staff, and students," said Gallagher. "But it's time for DeSales to live up to it's motto and help students thrive." 

Patch will have more from this interview in

What do you think? Tell us in the comments! 


Stan Zukowski August 03, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I gotta throw good ol' Thomas Jefferson in here (who was NOT a Christian, by the way). "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
Stew August 03, 2012 at 11:10 PM
To all the bible does address homosexuality: 1st Timothy: 8 Now we know that rthe law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the slaw is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,2 liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to tsound3 doctrine, 11 in accordance with uthe gospel of the glory of vthe blessed God wwith which I have been entrusted. The bible also states the following: "To hate the sin and not the sinner." If you believe that homosexuality is wrong then shouldn't you embrace the person as a person. I agree that DeSales has the right to deny any club which conflicts with it view points. It is that simple, whether I liked it or not. As an Alumni there were things that I accepted as a part of going to college there.
Stew August 03, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Of course there were many things I didn't agree with or like.
George August 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Oh course the Bible addresses homosexuality, though Jesus never said anything about it. 1 Timothy has been historically attributed to the Apostle Paul; however, most modern scholars now agree that this book of the Bible was not written by Paul, but some unknown person, instead. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epistle_to_Timothy
Tom August 04, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Most people are ignorant of the Church's teaching on human sexuality, which is based on the consistent teachings of Jesus, the Bible, the apostles and their successors. If you disagree with the Church's teachings can you at least tolerate people and organizations that don't hold your beliefs? Interestingly Fr. John F. Harvey, O.S.F.S the founder of Courage, a Catholic organization the ministers to people with same sex attractions, lived and taught at DeSales. He also authored several books on homosexuality. If you wish to understand the church's teach I suggest you read his book “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church, Clear Answers to Difficult Questions”. This book was published in 2007 shortly before Fr. Harvey past away Dec. 27th 2010.


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