motto "be who you are, and be that well" may be the rallying cry for , but staff say the full quote from St. Francis DeSales contradicts what the students are trying to accomplish.
"The full quote is 'Let us be what we are and be that well, in order to bring honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork we are,'" said Dr. Jerry Joyce, vice president for student affairs at DeSales. "Just like the quote says, if we are staying true to the teachings of the Catholic faith, it would be hypocritical to allow a club that would celebrate a LGBT lifestyle."
DeSales alumnus Tim Gallagher posted an online petition on Change.org in response to repeated denials by university officials to allow an LGBT student group to form on campus.
The request for an LGBT club stemmed from a 2010 incident where a student found their . Joyce confirmed the incident.
"I can confirm that a word was written on a student's door," said Joyce. Gallagher claims he was told that the lack of a non-discrimination policy at DeSales that included sexual orientation meant no action could be taken against the vandals. Joyce stated the reason no action was taken was because no students were caught.
"We would have taken disciplinary action against the students if they had been caught," said Joyce.
Joyce also confirmed a meeting with a member of the student body about forming a LGBT club, and again cited the exclusive nature of the club as the reason the student was denied.
"The way [the group] was presenting themselves was as an exclusive club, and we don't do exclusive groups at DeSales. We use student activity fees to fund [student organizations], which would mean students wouldn't be able to get into a club they were paying for."
Joyce refutes the claim that students approached him about an on-campus organization that would celebrate all diversity on campus, not just an LGBT club. "I remember the conversation being positive, and reminding [the group] that there is an office within student affairs committed to community justice they could work with."
Joyce, who received his B.S. in Finance at DeSales, said he's never heard of an incident where faculty or staff were targeted because of sexual orientation. "As a 20-year member of this institution, I have, not once, heard that anyone was targeted for their beliefs about anything. If someone leaves this institution, it is their choice."
Despite the petition, Joyce says he respects what Gallagher is doing. "I know [Gallagher] very well, he was very involved while he was at DeSales. He fit here. I think the fact that he opened this debate is proof that we've done our job. He's gone out into the world and he's being true to his belief system while maintaining a mutual respect within the discussion."