On Oct. 4, Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, someone anonymously distributed letters throughout Dolan Science Center against homosexuals and the LGBTQ community. The same person, who may or may not be a member of the John Carroll community, also placed discriminatory letters into faculty offices mailboxes and wrote, “Repent and follow Jesus, as he is the only perfect one,” on a whiteboard in a Dolan classroom. It is unclear if the letters came from the same individual.
The first letter was placed in the faculty’s drop boxes in Dolan, a second letter was handed out at the annual SUPB drag show on campus and a third was given to various faculty members in Dolan that states one’s opposition of the teaching of evolution. It begins, “Homosexuality is Satanism; individuals who approve of homosexuality are also Satanic people.”
The University Provost and Academic Vice President, Jeanne Colleran, commented on the letter-writer, saying he or she makes claims about homosexuality that are neither factual nor fair. She also stated, “The letter’s tone and content does not fit with our core values, our code of conduct, our non-discrimination policy or a diversity statement.”
These acts of intolerance are unwarranted and unacceptable. The limitations on punishing free speech under the First Amendment only applies to the government. Because John Carroll University is a private institution, discipline for such behavior is allowed. Unfortunately, the name of the distributor and author of the letters are unknown. Furthermore, it is distasteful to aim this attack at John Carroll staff members, seeing as all of them comply with the University’s diversity and inclusiveness policies. Classroom behavioral standards included in all professors’ syllabi elaborate on the commitment John Carroll has to “fostering a learning and working environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and ethical and moral values consistent with Jesuit and Catholic traditions.”
Along with the University’s standards enforced in the classroom, John Carroll’s “Stand up to Bias” campaign is recognizable throughout campus. The page on JCU’s website regarding understanding and reporting bias states, “No one should be mistreated because of their race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability or veteran status.” It is not the fault of faculty members for abiding by the school policy, nor is the policy poorly thought out. These recent outbursts are not acceptable at John Carroll University and deserve to be punished.