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DeSales Claims LGBT Club on Campus Would be 'Hypocritical'

Dr. Jerry Joyce, vice president of student affairs at DeSales, talks to Patch about the Change.org petition and DeSales University's mission.

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."

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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."

Mary Anne Looby August 08, 2012 at 01:07 PM
As the quote says "bring honor to the Master Craftsman who's handiwork we are". According to the Catholic faith and the teachings of DeSales University and all Catholic schools be they K-8, highschool and college WE ARE ALL CREATED EQUALLY IN HIS IMAGE. These students are created in God's image just as straight students are. I am dissapointed in the school that nurtured my husband years ago, gave him an amazing education, and sent him out into the world as an inteligient human being who accepts all people and embraces diversity, just as Allentown College did more than 40 years ago.
Chandler August 08, 2012 at 01:56 PM
The school is a private Catholic college that SHOULD uphold traditional Catholic values and teachings. If a student does not hold these values and truths as their own--why would they go there?
Kristine Speroni August 08, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I went because it's a good school with a good theatre department. I never once went to mass, and actually changed my beliefs while I was there from my Catholic upbringing to an Agnostic approach. I also went to school with several Jewish students. Heck, my senior year my dorm room was attached to the chapel and I STILL never stepped foot inside. So ask again why I went to school there...
Amanda Trickey August 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM
To hear that some words have been twisted by Jerry Joyce annoys me a bit. In a meeting I made it clear that this club covers ALL diversity. Also, the students in favor of this club are not trying to change the views of the school. We chose to come to DeSales because it is a great educational opportunity; we don't disagree with the chrch's views, we disagree with the treatment of human beings. I wish we could take a step towards world peace without any judgement or discrimination.
Jackie E August 08, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Kristine brings up a good point, you go there because of the education, not strictly because of the religion associated with it. I chose up attend because the fact that it was a great school and I felt very welcome there. It is nice that there is a church there to attend and different mass times, but I didn't choose the school based on that. I am catholic and I believe that no matter that sexual orientation you are, you should not be excluded or left out in any way.
Lynn Mariano August 08, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I do have a point, so bare with me, this is long: I attended DeSales not too long ago, and in all honesty, I see right from both sides. DeSales is a Catholic institution. Simple as that...whether you are a practicing Catholic that went for the purpose of going to a Catholic school or just went for a specific major, it doesn't matter. It is like denying that a tree's leaves change color in the fall...you can deny it but it still is a fact. Christians, not just Catholics, believe that the purpose of a romantic relationship is two things...obviously, Love but secondly to procreate and continue Human existence. Unfortunately, two men or two women can not provide that, which is one of the reasons (and probably should be the reason) why Christian institutions, Churches and Organizations believe that two people should not be allowed to be together...and hopefully this is where they are basing their opinions on and that it is not coming from a darker place, Hate. DeSales being a CHRISTIAN school...can not endorse what the Catholic and more broad Christian church doesn't. They are not saying people are not free to be who they are...but what they are saying is that there can not be a venue that promotes the lifestyle. Homosexuality is something people are born with, they can't change who they are. If there was a club that welcomed all to Celebrate their differences (Gay Straight Alliance) and they were denied then there would be a HUGE problem.
Ben Janken August 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I don't think you understand many of the contradictions in your post. You say that people are born homoseuxal and can't change it. But then you call it a lifestyle, which you can change as often as you get out of bed in the morning. Then you endorse the idea that how you are made, presumably by god, is enough to deny you full participation in society. And if you're going to a catholic university, they do indeed have the right to say you aren't free to be who you are. I can tell you what most gay people know. Not all bigotry is hate, though you usually don't have to scratch too deeply to find it. A good deal of it is belief in your own wholly imaginary, self assigned superiority as a human being, a moral person, a certain class of Christian. When Christians devote the same energy to not judging others, removing all logs from their own eyes, and loiving one another, I'll believe it's not about plain old fashioned bigotry, given its thin veneer of respectability of sincere religious belief, as if that were any kind of an excuse. All of us may be sinners. Not all of us are throwing stones.
Brandon McMullin August 08, 2012 at 05:21 PM
In Mr. Gallagher's petition letter to De Sales, he quotes: "Meanwhile, 16 Catholic Colleges in Pennsylvania have officially recognized pro-homosexual clubs, LGBTQ Resource Centers, or student organizations according to a recent poll." This is the direction society, education, and history are going. De Sales can fight it all they want, but ultimately they are just going to get left behind. Which will make all the silly construction projects, name changes, and re-branding of the institution over the past decade null and void. When future generations look back on this issue with broader frames of mind, they will not recognize De Sales as an institution that did ANYTHING first or even third, but merely a school that sat in darkness, an obstruction to progress, waiting for the world to say it was "OK" first. When I read this article aloud I heard the words of Dr. Joyce saturated in fear. When I look at De Sales University's actions on the issue I see them sodden in cowardice. A stark constrast from "The Master Craftsman". On the other hand, Dr. Joyce is correct about one thing, Tim Gallagher. I was fortunate enough to attend De Sales at the same time as Tim and I've never seen more of a devout Catholic, bright mind, hard worker, or caring friend. Today, we all watch as he adds 'brave revolutionist' to that list. I think it's fair to say Tim brings HONOR not only to God, but to all of us.
Kevin Jablonski August 08, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I have to applaud DeSales University for staying true to the Catholic Faith. For the LGBT community to not understand how hypocritical it would be for the school to support an official group is mind blowing to me. You want their high quality education, you agree to be exposed to the Catholic faith and all its' tenets. Case closed. Geez
Christina S. August 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I agree with Kevin and Lynn. I think that across the board, DeSales is a Catholic institution doing what they are supposed to do as just that. If you want a school that isn't Catholic...that isn't based on Christian values, don't go to DeSales. I can't speak on any other school, but for this one in particular, they are standing for what they believe. It isn't bigotry, it isn't hatred...it is doctrine. I think whether or not the school supports a man or woman who is homosexual or not is irrelevant. Whatever the reason for the denial is irrelevant but rather it's sole purpose of the standing by the platform they are a part of. DeSales is a CATHOLIC school, for those not in complete understanding of Catholic doctrine, you may not completely understand why the Catholic church does or doesn't do certain things. But at the very least, DeSales is Catholic and must follow suit. If you don't like it, don't choose Catholicism.
Thomson Jaffe August 08, 2012 at 07:17 PM
The DeSales University mission statement includes the line: “In its work, the University fosters a vital and respectful dialogue between Roman Catholic faith and human culture.” Being gay is part of human culture, we should be allowed to talk about it. I'm a proud DeSales student, but I bought into the school's mission, not its religion.
Thomson Jaffe August 08, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Many students at DeSales now question if “Be who you are and be that well,” really means, “Be who we want you to be or don’t bother.” I know that I did not sign up to be who someone else wants me to be. The hypocrisy makes me wonder if I chose the right school at times. Gay students can’t be themselves if they have to hide a portion of who they are from the school that they love. DeSales’ unofficial Gay/Straight Alliance, P.R.I.D.E, is not enough. The school has accepted all of us as students and it should start accepting us as people too. Sign the petition! http://tinyurl.com/cevtwk7
Christina S. August 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
That is an excellent point Thomson, and I agree with you. DeSales should be accepting of all students...but they aren't saying you are not allowed to be Gay, they are just saying you can't have a club.
George August 08, 2012 at 09:21 PM
A bigger issue for the Catholic Church in the United States is the ongoing investigation of its nuns and its moves to more closely regulate their charitable activites. The Catholic Church is alienating even those who are its staunchest supporters. The problems at DeSales are little compared to larger issues that are unfolding. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/nun-leaders-believe-most-sisters-dont-want-to-submit-to-vatican-oversight/2012/08/08/c036ca20-e177-11e1-98e7-89d659f9c106_blog.html
Mindy August 08, 2012 at 09:27 PM
As one of the 3 main people that tried to start this group I would just like to say that we respected the views of the catholic church and were well aware an LGBT group would not be allowed on campus. HOWEVER this was not solely a LGBT group and it was in no way presented in that matter. Yes the lgbt students would be allowed to participate in the group and would be praised for speaking openly about their lives but so would everyone else in the group. ANYONE was allowed to join. People Rejoice in Diversity and Equality was the name of the club. This was not a LGBT club, it was a Diversity club to recognize every population on campus. Now in hindsight I wish I would have joined the ProLife club and voiced my prochoice opinions and see if I would have been kicked out, yet our school doesn't segregate in clubs? "Be who you are and be that well" ....well only if you live by catholic morals should really be the saying
Tyler R August 08, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Its tough for me to come out because I have an image of hooking up with a lot of women
Andrew E August 09, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Private Institution = private rules. If they had ANY reason to believe the club would be LBGT oriented they have a right to say no. Besides, who needs to be an official club to have a club. If it was so important start the club and do your own fundraisers. All this says is that the school can't back the club. Do it without the school's backing. You guys are college students, show some initiative instead of causing problems for the school.
emma katana August 09, 2012 at 06:31 AM
There were 110 people in the Rainbow Alliance at SLU (a Jesuit school) when I attended, the largest undergraduate group at the school. It was sanctioned by the school and certainly NOT exclusive. And this was at least five years ago! Catholic & LGBTQA certainly can mix -- and postivitely.
Lynn Mariano August 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Andrew I completely Agree with you...and if you don't like it...TRANSFER. This is a club that the school DOES have the right not to support.
Ann Marie August 09, 2012 at 06:38 PM
" DeSales’ unofficial Gay/Straight Alliance, P.R.I.D.E, is not enough." stated by Thomas Jaffe'. Why is it not enough, why must this club be paid for by the college. They have every right to say whose club they pay for and don't.

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