Assumption University professors show support for students, alumni who spoke out after college sent email message opposing gay marriage

A group of professors from Assumption University is showing support for current students and alumni who have spoken out against leadership at the Worcester institution after an email was sent with messages in opposition of gay marriage.

Last week, an email from the Campus Ministry went out to the student body in reference to the upcoming election and linked to a document by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The document referred to “same-sex marriage as an ‘evil’ comparable with racism, genocide, war, and human trafficking and should never be tolerated,” and “redefining civil marriage to include unions between non-heterosexual people is a ‘violation of human dignity,’” according to a letter from faculty.

“The conflation of same-sex civil marriage with human trafficking, genocide, racism and war is, in our opinion, shockingly irrational, harmful, and manifestly untrue. We are greatly dismayed by how alienating it must have been for our LGBTQIA+ students to read these words issued by the people with whom they have entrusted their intellectual and spiritual journeys, especially the many of them who find great solace in their faith,” the letter reads. “If history has taught us anything it is that humanity is a diverse group, with marriages and sexual desires varying widely across historical and cultural contexts.”

Dozens of current faculty members, as well as assistant professors, professors of practice, adjunct faculty and retired professors, have signed the letter.

The faculty members wrote that they support student requests to move the AU Allies out of Campus Ministry, dedicate resources to actual inclusion, and to change the student handbook, removing the following statement: “As a Catholic institution, the University supports the Church’s teaching that sexual relationships are morally legitimate only between a man and a woman exclusively within marriage.”

“We the undersigned dedicate our existing resources to supporting these efforts, in the form of programming offered through our affiliated committees and organizations on campus, our practices in our own classrooms and office hours, and our openness to talking to students about creating change on campus,” the letter reads. “However, the only true change can come from administrative support of their students – all of their students. We hope they follow through their statements of respect and inclusion with actual actions.”

Last week, dozens of alumni vowed to withhold donations to the university pending an apology from Assumption for the email from the Campus Ministry.

Assumption President Francesco Cesareo last week wrote that the university’s mission includes both educating students about the teachings of the Catholic Church, as well as treating the members of the LGBTQ community and its community, “each made in the image and likeness of God, with dignity, respect and compassion.”

“The University maintains its commitment to providing the campus community a welcoming and open environment, in which individuals are free to engage in reasonable and serious dialogue,” Cesareo continued.

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