I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Equality Texas has learned they will not be allowed to recruit interns for the fall and spring semesters on the campus of St. Edward’s University in Austin.
After signing up to participate in an Internship Fair on campus, Equality Texas received an email cancelling the agency’s participation in the fair. In an email from Lou Serna, who serves as both Director of the Office of Service and Community Involvement and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, Serna stated, “In reviewing the mission of Equality Texas it has come to our attention that promoting your organization and volunteer opportunities will be in direct conflict with the mission of St. Edward’s University. As a Catholic University, we are rooted in and uphold Catholic Church teaching.”
As an alumna of St. Edward’s University and as a Catholic, I am deeply saddened and ashamed by the University’s response.
St. Edward’s mission statement says the university encourages its students to “confront the critical issues of society and to seek justice and peace.”
- Is equality not a critical issue of society?
- Is it not critical when Texans can be fired from their jobs simply for identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?
- Shouldn’t we all seek justice for this intolerance?
- Is it not critical when employers blatantly discriminate against employees by only providing healthcare to partners who are straight and married? St. Edward’s University falls into this category.
I think my favorite part of the St. Edward’s mission statement is this:
"St. Edward’s expresses its Catholic identity by communicating the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God, by stressing the obligation of all people to pursue a more just world, and by providing opportunities for religious studies and participation in campus ministry. St. Edward’s seeks to provide an environment in which freely chosen beliefs can be deepened and expressed."
I freely choose to believe that each and every one of us has been created in the image of God. I also freely choose to believe that discrimination, in any form, is wrong. I think this is why I choose to pursue a more just world and specifically, a more just Texas.
- Being fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity is unjust.
- Being shoved into a locker at school and called a “faggot” is unjust.
- Not having an accurate birth certificate simply because you have two same-sex parents is unjust.
While I no longer work for Equality Texas, I will continue to pursue a more just Texas by supporting their work. Not only because the work of Equality Texas directly impacts my life, but also because of my roots in Catholic social teaching, I know it is, without a doubt, the right thing to do. Every person has a fundamental right to health care, employment, and an education – these are required for human decency.
To the students of SEU, I know first-hand most of you embrace equality and balk at the idea of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If you’re in need of an internship, and working for a more just Texas is of interest, please check out the internship opportunities at Equality Texas: http://www.equalitytexas.org/content.aspx?id=488
Equality Texas envisions a state where all Texans are treated equally, with dignity and respect. Tell me, Mr. Serna, what does St. Edward’s University envision?
Posted by Guest Blogger, Lindsay Marsh