Hamline's decision to stay neutral on marriage amendment sparks protest

Categories: Education, GLBT
kellert hanson.jpg
Kellert (left) called on Hanson (right) to make a stand consistent with the school's Discrimination Policy. It went unheeded.
At 11 a.m. today, Hamline students and faculty will gather on the school's Old Main Lawn to protest school administration's decision to stay neutral on the Minnesota marriage amendment.

SEE ALSO: Hamline professor Stephen Kellert calls on university administration to come out against Minnesota marriage amendment

In a letter addressed to the "Hamline Community" and distributed via email last night, President Linda Hanson engages in some impressive doublespeak -- she writes that "Hamline will not take a position in opposition to or in favor of the amendment," but adds, "The University's position should not be viewed as supportive of the amendment or as a rejection" of the school's history of inclusivity.

Earlier this month, philosophy professor Stephen Kellert wrote a letter to Hanson asking that the school come out against the same sex-marriage ban. He cited the school's Discrimination Policy, which states that the school "does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its education or employment programs or activities."

Kellert's letter came on the heels of the creation of a Hamline Supports the Freedom to Marry Facebook page that attracted 2,000 members during its first day.

A healthy debate has developed on the Facebook page promoting today's protest. Here's a sampling of some of the responses to Hanson's letter.

From sociology professor Melissa Embser-Herbert:
hamline reax 1.jpg

And here's a couple reactions from students:
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More than one alumnus has vowed to stop financially supporting the historically socially liberal school in the wake of President Hanson's neutrality vow.

To read the full text of her letter, click to page two.


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28 comments
David Lutchen
David Lutchen

Freedom of speech anyone? Oh wait we live in Libya where if any thing is said or done we dont agree with we riot, nevermind.

David Lutchen
David Lutchen

@Casey Finne, since was was marriage "a right"? And yes, people can have opinions without people threatening to boycott them or ruin their lives with slander and threats. @Bob Alberti, I did read it and I dont like it or agree with it but does she not have the right to say it whether she is cowtowing to whoever? Just like Chik-a-filla has the right to believe whatever they want. If this was a public school, the argument would be completely different.

johnthomasmedeiros
johnthomasmedeiros

This just in:  The faculty resolution passed 127 to 15, with 6 abstentions.  WHEREAS Hamline University is a learning community that values diversity and inclusiveness; and WHEREAS Hamline University recognizes and embraces the values of the United Methodist Church; andWHEREAS the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church has publicly opposed the Minnesota “marriage amendment; andWHEREAS the Minnesota "marriage amendment" would deny civil rights to members of our community: Be it resolved that we, the faculty of Hamline University, oppose the "marriage amendment" that seeks to enshrine discrimination in the constitution of the state of Minnesota, andBe it resolved that we, the faculty of Hamline University, call upon President Linda Hanson, as Hamline’s representative, to affirm Hamline University's values and its belief in liberal education by publicly opposing the “marriage amendment.”

stronnes
stronnes

Dont get your panties in a bunch Rupar ...   since when is it in a schools best interest to take a side on these kind of issues?  Like the article states.." what about the people on campus who support Vote Yes ?" There are a lot of people who dont believe that the gays should be able to get married.  get over it

_AjD
_AjD

Indeed, no more donations from me “@_lcd Shame on my alma mater! It's a sad day to be a Piper. http://t.co/LC9U8ygz @HamlineU @citypages”

kastina
kastina

Embarrassed by Alma mater. Everything we stood for- everything the Hamline University Faculty taught its students is under a dark cloud of hypocrisy...by voicing my opinion against the institution's administration, at least I'm 'Doing all the good I can, By all the means I can, In all the ways I can, In all the places I can, At all the times I can, To all the people I can..." (this is the statement we recited every year on campus)

Kimberly Reinhart
Kimberly Reinhart

I like how everyone is supposed to take a stand, as long as it's to vote no. This is an instituition that is also built on a Methodist foundation. I hate to break to everyone, but we are all allowed to have our own opinion, or none at all, for that matter. Maybe instead of Hamline taking a stand on the issue they should encourage students and faculty to vote since that is where their voices will be heard.

dupokey_petey
dupokey_petey

I suppose Hamline will still be asking for my continued financial support.  No f-ing way.  Support is a two way street.  If you support me, I will support you.  I guess it's time to cut the cord.

Tanner Slade Olson
Tanner Slade Olson

Dont get all worked up things are the way they are and no ones going to change them overnight! Some agree some disagree for various reasons, but things will all work themselves out, it just might take a little time.

kristinvandorn
kristinvandorn

I'm deeply disappointed in Hamline.  If this amendment passes, it will suppress the very freedom of expression and civil discourse President Hanson's letter suggests the University supports.  By not taking a stance now, Hamline is honoring an agenda that might ultimately break down civil debate and discourse later; and it is doing so to the detriment of it's whole scholarly community.  

Bloomington
Bloomington

If we don't speak out against injustice and oppression, it will continue. Only when we stand up to oppressors do we have a chance to defeat them.

Bill Nolan
Bill Nolan

In the voting booth, the only way to stay neutral on this issue is to leave that question on the ballot unanswered. In Minnesota, an unanswered ballot is a 'no' to the amendment. Thank you then for your neutrality.

kdeffenbacher
kdeffenbacher

As a Hamline professor I am very committed to open intellectual inquiry, but I am puzzled by President Hanson’s invocation of that ideal in this context.  How do we openly and intellectually debate an amendment that is founded either in one’s interpretation of religious text or in one’s belief that there is an essential difference between gay and straight citizens that requires the state to limit the rights of the minority in order to protect the privileges of the majority?  The former is valid ground for an assertion in a religion classroom but is not something to enshrine in a secular state’s constitution; the latter is a blatant violation of Hamline’s policy of non-discrimination and our value of social justice. 

 

President Hanson, or anyone really, can you please explain how an “unfettered exposition of ideas” in support of the amendment could lead to anything other than an argument about biblical interpretation or the assertion of discriminatory beliefs that would make a significant number of people in our community feel devalued, unwelcome, and unsafe?

Lisa Overby
Lisa Overby

Hamline is a Methodist college and while many methodist churches are in the vote no camp, the official Methodist position is that against Gay marriage. I would believe this has something to do with the neutral stance.

kastina
kastina

Wait, I didn't even know there was a faculty vote happening? She silenced that too?!

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

David: Lutchen: read what Guidry said. By being too chickens#!+ to take a stance, Hanson is cowtowing to Hamline's bigoted-but-wealthy donors and telling a good portion of the students she supposedly serves that they are second-class citizens.

David Guidry
David Guidry

To remain neutral is to side with continued disenfranchisement.

David Lutchen
David Lutchen

Sparks protest?! Since when did everyone have to believe the same thing? I didnt know we are living in Russia. (for the record, Im against the amendment)

johnthomasmedeiros
johnthomasmedeiros

What I find most upsetting is that President Hanson claims the reason for neutrality is to further the dialogue, but the fact she did this on the eve of the faculty vote (which would have advanced the dialogue) basically severs any dialogue that could have come from this.

A1batross
A1batross

Too many of their donors are wealthy bigots for her to take a principled stance, so she's demonstrating "leadership" by cowering and doing nothing at all.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@A1batross: sort of like when Obama conveniently switched from lifelong homophobe to queer friendly a couple months ago for donors. Everyone's shit stinks.

A1batross
A1batross

 @mingtran You know, you're LOUSY as a troll. If you want to diss Obama, criticize him for blowing up 16 year old US citizens, or Gitmo still being open. The only thing I actually give Obama any credit for is getting rid of DADT and advancing GLBT issues. I don't care if he WAS a "lifelong homophobe," he apparently GOT OVER IT. Now if he could start actually protecting the Constitution and stop snuggling up to Wall Street insiders I might start linking him. You SUCK as a troll.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@A1batross: I guess if I'm a troll, so are you.

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