More Notes of Support

Dear President Lyons,

I am currently a student at USD from the class of 2014. Since day one, I have always been so proud to be a part of the USD community but never have I been more proud to be a torero when I saw that USD was allowing PRIDE to host a drag show.


I am gay and still half way in the closet. I have recently struggled with being gay and thoughts of taking my own life never seem to completely leave my mind. But this event gives me so much strength and hope that I plan on completely coming out within the next 2 weeks.


Although I would not personally participate in a drag show, this event has proven to me what an inclusive campus USD is and gives me hope for a better future on campus and in the world. I have learned that everyone is different, whether it be a person's race, social class, sexual orientation etc. And being different isn't wrong. We are all human. We are all children of God.


I just wanted to express my gratitude for allowing this event on campus. I know not everyone may agree with the decision you made, but I can guarantee you that it was the right one. I cannot thank you enough for what this event has done for me.


Thank you again.


Sincerely,

---

Dear President Lyons,

It has come to my attention that USD will be hosting several LGBT friendly events this month and that there has been an unfortunate backlash against this. Having attended USD, I am forever grateful to the University and to the Catholic community at Founders Chapel for inspiring me, for directing me in my faith and for giving me the freedom to question, learn and experience new ideas, cultures and people. I would like to thank you, President Lyons, for the work you do, not only with these events, in supporting an inclusive community that upholds the Catholic traditions of universality and love. Jesus loved purely, truly and without limits and I am pleased and thankful to see USD striving to create this environment of love and inclusion rather than one of distrust and exclusion. I hope to hear more news of this tradition continuing not only on our campus but across the country.

 

May God be with you,

--


Dear Dr. Lyons:

 

I am writing as an alumnus to thank you for your support of making USD a safe and inclusive environment for all it's students. I am aware of the negative feedback the University has received from some alumni about on-campus programming that is LGBT-friendly. While they are entitled to their opinion, I would like you to know that this Torero is very pleased to see my alma mater take these steps. I only wish they had happened while I was a student on campus.

 

Under your leadership, the University has made significant advancements on numerous fronts. All of them make me proud to have attended USD, but none make me as proud as the steps taken to make the campus more welcoming to students of color and those who are LGBT. I hope you will continue this work and know that many of us stand with you in full support.

 

Sincerely,

Alum, Class fof 2000

--

Dear President Lyons,

 

As an alum of USD Class of 2010, I appreciate the way in which you worked to make USD an inclusive and welcoming place for all sorts of people.  I am now a first year law student at UCLA, and my classes here have shown me that the importance of exposure to diverse people cannot be understated.  Thank you for holding strong in the face of criticism.

 

Best,

--

Dear President Lyons and the USD Administration,

I have recently been informed of some unfortunate comments from former USD alumni and other individuals regarding LGBT friendly events at USD.  I wanted to personally reply to you as a USD alumna from the class of 2007 to say thank you for the work you are doing to ensure USD is an inclusive institution, committed to respecting people of all races, sexual orientations, religions, and any other minority grouping.  I take enormous pride in having gone to a school that fostered values of equality and respect in all human kind.  USD has repeatedly stood up in the face of injustice to support individuals who have been mistreated and has taken a stand against injustice across the world supporting student-led initiatives and fundraisers.  While attending USD, I found the diversity of the student body crucial to my education, the school's respect for all cultures, religions, and peoples fundamental to my growth as a human being, and the inclusive community fostered by these beliefs proof of USD's commitment to the values of respect and empathy.  That USD continues to support minority groups struggling to ensure their rights are not breached is a testament to the foundation of the school's values and our strength as a community.  It is unfortunate that certain individuals did not take those important lessons to heart while attending USD. However, as a former alum, I will continue to speak highly of USD and to donate to the school as it continues to face adversity head-on.  I appreciate all you have done to ensure USD is a safe place for everyone who attends.  Please keep up the good work.

Best,


B.A. class of 2007

--

Dear President Lyons and USD Administration:

I am a USD alumna, class of 2007.  After hearing about a particular USD alumnus becoming upset that USD is supportive of LGBT groups hosting events on campus, I was compelled to write to disagree.

 

The fact that USD is a Catholic school that truly lives Christ's message of showing love and kindness to everyone--no matter their race, religion, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation--was the reason I chose to go there.  I loved that the university was supportive and welcoming of my LGBT colleagues and friends.  That is was makes USD a nurturing community that fosters the best education and instills the most meaningful values.

 

Please continue to build an inclusive and diverse environment on USD's campus.  That is the foundation that USD graduates need to grow into the best citizens, workers, and community members.

--

Dear President Lyons and the USD Administration, 

 

I would like to express my sincere gratitude as a senior and upcoming Alumni of USD for supporting PRIDE and the events that are taking place. This support is what makes USD an inclusive place for every member of the USD community. 

 

Thank you again,

--

Dear President Lyons,

 

I am a USD alum, class of 2006, and was recently made aware of some of the negative reactions to the University's decision to host a series of educational events relating to LGBT issues. I am saddened by the aggressive and hateful reactions that have been voiced by some members of our community, and would like to thank Associated Students and PRIDE, and commend USD for sponsoring diverse events and educational opportunities even when they are controversial. I am proud to see USD become an ever-more inclusive community, and hope that you will continue to give a voice to any and all students seeking to create a forum for dialogue on any issues, particularly when those issues are tied to questions of human dignity and social justice.

 

Thank you for putting into action the university's stated mission and vision to create a diverse and inclusive community.

 

Regards,

 

Alumna Class of 2006

 

--

President Lyons, 

 

Thank you for continuing to stand in support of your students. I am sure that the stones cast by those in their own insecurities and closed-mindedness are hard to bare. Please know that myself, and many of my fellow alumni who I have discussed this with, support the protection and inclusion of all students. Perhaps with continued education and support, future alumni will continue your example of displaying the good Christian values of love, inclusiveness, and non-judgement.

 

Thank you,

--

Hello President Lyons,

 

Thank you for continuing to support and encourage acceptance of all peoples on campus, regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, gender, or sexual orientation. As an alumna of the University of San Diego and member of F.U.S.O., A.S., the United Front, various crews for SEARCH and more, and I am happy to see continued progress in the range of events offered for students, and more recently, the workshop and Drag Show sponsored by PRIDE.

 

I am a Catholic, a Heterosexual, and a friend and ally of PRIDE. I applaud the USD community for providing opportunities for Toreros to learn, grow and love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, just as He loved us. And through my time at USD, through my Catholic foundation, I've learned to continue to love and pray for all, even those filled with hate and judgement in their hearts.

 

On this Easter Sunday, we are reminded that God sent His only son to die for us to show His unconditional love for ALL His people. May blessings to you during this Easter holiday.

 

Thank you,

 

 

USD c/o 2006

Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization

Associated Students

United Front Multicultural Center

Orientation (O-Board '04-'05; O-Team '03-'04)

University Ministry (Eucharistic Minister '02-'06; Liturgical Minister '02-'06)

SEARCH

Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society ('05-'06)

--

Dr. Lyons, 

 

I am both saddened and enthused to write the below on what I believe to be the holiest of days.

 

Saddened that we are struck with such a frustrating reality nearly two millennia after Jesus' teachings of love, equality, reverence and respect for all people. And we do find ourselves amid a frustrating reality, no matter how out of place or senseless it may seem – even in an era, a society that has done so much to adhere to said wisdom.

 

At the same time, I am enthused – enthused to offer my thanks and congratulations to the University of San Diego for continuing to follow these teachings and treating each student with the respect and love that they deserve. 

 

It is confusing and perhaps, upsetting, to believe that any high school senior entertaining university has any reservation toward an institution holding inclusiveness to such high regard. If this was the case, we should consider this issue from all angles. What about those few with disposition toward Mexican-Americans, blacks, the disabled or the lower-class?

What about those few with disposition toward the pious, the political, the intelligent, the athletic? What about those few with disposition toward the rich, the influential, the privileged? Shall I continue?

 

Lest we forget how much work USD does in the community-at-large. I’m interested to know what these members think of the current situation we find ourselves in. Surely, they cannot be expected to support a university that is welcoming to any and all. Surely. That is clearly an unreasonable ask in 2012.  

 

I would not be the man I am today had it not been for the opportunity presented to me by this institution. Granted, USD is not without erring. There were times when I cursed and yelled and stomped my feet in the halls of administration and classroom buildings alike. But, nine times out of ten, there were people there to help me find a solution and even, provide me comfort. There were people there to bestow patience, build me up, and even, make me smile. There were people there to remind me of the love and openness that I so loved about the "White Castle on the Hill." The name almost makes me laugh now. No matter how distant the property may have seemed, the university was never removed from the progression of the community around it. 

 

It makes no difference who those people were. Although, I do find it interesting that as I reflect, I recognize the majority of those people were in fact, members of a community in question - a community that garners unwarranted issue, a community that does not deserve seething phone calls and emails, but the same love, equality, reverence and respect that Jesus preached.

 

With that, I hope that the internal USD community continues to follow these teachings, and in effect, teach us all something in the process.

 

 

Warmest regards,

--

A few friends have forwarded articles to me about backlash you're receiving for approving recent LGBT events on campus. So I wanted to take a minute to write in support of them and thank you for continuing USD's tradition of creating an inclusive environment for everyone. I'm an alum (2006 business school) and have very fond memories of USD and the friends I made there. It would break my heart to hear that you stopped allowing events for any type of group simply because donors disagree.

 

So thanks again for your support and please keep it up!

--

Dear President Lyons and the USD Administration,

My name is XX class of 2008. I studied mathematics and physics, and am a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I was also a member of the Club Ultimate Frisbee team.

I am writing to thank you for giving me a great 4 years as a Torero. Secondly, I want to thank you for providing a place where I could feel accepted and appreciated as a student and as a human being. One of the primary reasons I loved USD (and am proud to have attended) is the truly pure academic environment. To elaborate, I always felt that the University's foremost values were the pursuit of knowledge, both worldly and of the self, and to provide a forum for unique individuals from all backgrounds to come together in an academic communion - to share of themselves, and to take from others, in an environment where the means of currency was the sharing of ideas and experience. I loved that USD was a place where I could be myself and express myself, without any pressures, even while I was defining who that person was.

I would ask that you continue to give current and future Toreros the same freedom; the freedom of both of though and action, and provide an environment where students can explore the academic world and be unafraid to express and enjoy themselves, and partake of the true University experience, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. In short, I hope that USD will remain a fierce defender of its students who participate in and support the academic environment I described in the preceding paragraph.


--

Dear President Lyons,
I would like to voice my appreciation for your continued support towards the LGTB community at USD. It pleases me to know that although some have threatened to pull donations, you have elected to allow every member to have their voice heard.
As a member of the class of 2002, I am happy to see that the efforts started by PRIDE during my years at USD have not stopped.
I am proud to know that at USD, Catholic Social Thought is not just something on paper that is said to be part of the strategic goals; we can see it in action.
Sincerely,


Class of 2002


--

President Lyons,

I just wanted to send a note of thanks and appreciation.  Personally as an alum from the class of 2005, I am happy to learn that USD is becoming a more inclusive university and allowing all students to express themselves. I think it's great that the University is supporting the GBLT community and allowing PRIDE and AS to host numerous events including the drag show coming up this week.


I hope the University continues to support all students and foster an inclusive community.


Regards,


Class of 2005


--

Dear President Lyons,

 

As a graduate of the University of San Diego, I greatly appreciate your efforts to plan and execute the first ever Drag Show. I am excited to see students come together to celebrate and educate how amazing and diverse the LGBT community is. It is inspiring to hear how passionate the students have been to make this event happen amongst the negative talk and actions taken by our own members of the USD Community. 

 

As someone who has not come from any religious background, I believe in an inclusive environment where all are welcome no matter their race, gender, class, or sexual orientation. I came from a high school where being openly gay is considered a sin and an outcast and many times have I witnessed degradation towards those who are proud for what they are. 

 

That's why I loved being a student at USD. USD welcomed everyone with open arms and encouraged self-expression. And I have met the most amazing people from the LGBT community whom I will never forget because of their bravery and courage to never be anyone else but themselves.   

 

I'm not a Catholic, but if I have learned anything from my four years in attending this university it is that our goal in life should be loving and compassionate human beings. It is shocking to see alumni and students who oppose the event spread hurtful messages. How is that being a loving and compassionate "Christian"? 

 

Therefore, I stand with you and the rest of the USD community on your decision to continue promoting and executing this event to foster a safe and inclusive environment for students to express themselves as God made them to. And you can count on me to be standing in the crowd to cheer on PRIDE. 

 

Thank you,

Class of 2010

--

Dear President Lyons,
I am a USD Alum and former rower on the Men's Crew team; I graduated in 2007. I wanted to send you my support and thanks for continuing to make USD an inclusive place for every member of the USD community, including those of all sexual orientations.
By the way, I am heterosexual. I feel very strongly about keeping USD an open and welcoming place for people of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. Fostering a diverse student population is tantamount to fostering a more rich educational experience.

Sincerely,


--

Dear President Lyons,

My husband and I are alumni and graduated in 2001. I recently received

an email regarding the LGBT friendly events that will take place on
campus, and the negative responses coming from other alumni. I wanted
to share my APPROVAL and thanks for hosting this event at USD. I have
also made my first donation ever as a symbol of my support for this
event.

Regards,


Class of 2001


--

Dear President Lyons,

It has come to my attention that USD Pride's scheduled events are coming under attack. To see such hateful comments is quite distressing and is not following the teachings of God, Jesus, or the Catholic church.


I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for staying true to USD's core values and "creating a welcoming, inclusive, and collaborative community accentuated by a spirit of freedom and charity, and marked by protection of the rights and dignity of the individual."  It is thanks to people like you, who are willing to stand up for everyone, that my time at USD was such a positive experience.


It is a shame that the haters behind these attacks are unable to find God's love in their own hearts. As you are forced to deal with the venom these minions of hate command, please know that there are many, many alums out there who are pleased to see USD's commitment to equality for all, without exception. Jesus would approve.


With all my support,


Alumni, Class of 2002


--

Dear President Lyons,

 

I graduated from the University of San Diego in 2003. I would like to first say that I was involved with the committee that helped interview the Presidential candidates the year you were chosen... you were my choice, and I stand by that decision today. Thank you!

 

While attending U.S.D. I was very engaged with the university community as a member of student senate, an active member of the United Front Multicultural Center (and president's council), President of Pride and a Rainbow Educator. I was also a resident assistant my senior year. And I'm a lesbian. 

 

I learned a lot about myself at U.S.D. and a lot about my Catholic counterparts. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to learn that to be Catholic does not inherently equal close-minded and hateful, which is what I had come to learn prior to attending U.S.D. I met many loving Christians who a) were not trying to save my soul, b) were not trying to change me c) loved me for who I am. It was the mission of the school that drew me there, and it was the people that kept me there. I enjoyed a happy alliance with University Ministry and enjoyed my religion classes.

 

I want to thank you for supporting the students of Pride and the drag show that will be taking place. It is events like these that while they take place often outside of the campus environment without incident, send a message to the students that all identities are respected and valued. 

 

Thank you for being a positive force- not only for the members of Pride, but for all of the other U.S.D. students that can reap the rewards of a university that respects ALL students.

 

Sincerely,

--


Dear President Lyons,


Earlier this week while browsing Facebook I learned about a drag show organized by PRIDE at USD.  Curious, I clicked to read more, hopeful that the post would reveal a campus that over the 8 years since I graduated has continued to make progress towards being truly inclusive.  I learned that the drag show was one of a few events designed to facilitate a conversation & awareness of gender identity.  I was so incredibly proud to learn of the administrations decision to approve the events.  It is unfortunate that this has caused division in the wider USD community, and the hateful comments it has generated from some individuals are simply heartbreaking.


USD truly provided me with a holistic education and strengthened my Catholic faith- so much so that I decided to add Theology & Religious Studies as one of my majors.  As a freshmen entering college, I was at a crossroads with my faith development.  This was mainly because I was so frustrated that many Catholics and Christians could profess such hateful views of some minority groups, especially the GLBT community.  Wasn't this contrary to the message of the Gospel?  Didn't God create us in God's image, and all creation is good?  Isn't God's love unconditional?  How could people obsess so much over homosexual activity and be completely accepting of casual, premarital sex, or adultery?  I was hyper-aware of the hypocrisy, and it pained me and overwhelmed me.  I didn't want people to assume that because I was Catholic, I was anti-gay.  I have friends from the Catholic high school l attended and at USD who are gay, and have always done my best to be a strong ally to the GLBT community.  But I wished there were more opportunities for me to show my support during such challenging times as high school & college, when individuals are learning to accept themselves, and seeking acceptance from others.  Surely if I struggled with seeing some Catholics being hateful towards the GLBT community, the pain this caused my GLBT friends and classmates was greater and often hidden.


Then in the Spring semester of my freshmen year I learned about Catholic social teaching.  I learned how as Catholics, we are called to support and embrace the LIFE & DIGNITY of EVERY person- that this is the core tenant of CST- and that we are called to especially love and support the marginalized.  Not only because Jesus taught us this over 2000 years ago (which I knew), but also because it is the current teaching of the modern church.  Thoroughly exploring Catholic social teaching, and learning how we are called to have it inform our actions renewed & restored my faith.  This was a Catholic Church that I could identify with and be proud to be part of.  Similarly, I am very proud to be a Torrero, especially as the USD community takes important strides towards inclusion, and the administration helps to foster that.


On this Good Friday, we are reminded that Christ died for us because he loves us- unconditionally- and that we are called to love others as God loves us.  I am thankful for your role in building a campus that promotes acceptance and inclusion and gives witness to loving others as God loves us.


With gratitude and support,


--

 

 



 

 

 

Comments