The Soulforce Equality Ride visited Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this past April. The group was completely welcomed on the campus with invitationst o eat and dine with students, attend student forums and other official discussions… a scene quite contrary to the unwelcoming experience felt at Grand Rapid’s Cornerstone University, a school that is, literally, just down the street.
Now, the gay-straight student organization at Calvin – originally discussed when the Equality Ride visited – is moving forward on the campus.
According to the group’s online Facebook group, the administration has approved the request for the new student organization with some compromise between the students and college, including a name change from Gay-Straight Alliance to Spectrum.
Spectrum officer Miranda Brouwer gives us an update:
Mike [Sottong]and I met with Dan Vandersteen this past week and we talked about our goals with Spectrum. He said that if we follow through with what we have planned, that we will be able to be administratively sponsored. Here is a summary of what we went over:
- The name of the group is Spectrum
- Our mission statement is to form this group with the intention of educating ourselves on the topics of sexual orientation and spirituality
- We are going to be administratively sponsored. We are going to have an educational focus rather than an advocacy focus and we want to act as mediation between students of potentially opposing sides and act as a safe forum for debate
- We want to focus on the topics of reconciliation between sexuality and spirituality. The ways that we want to go about this are as follows:
- students’ stories (like panel but on a more specified basis, as well as hearing stories from straight students)
- pastors visiting (to present the traditional CRC stance as well as other options)
- people from the community with potentially differing views that have to do with what we want to talk about
- alumni (potentially alumni who came out after college to reflect on calvin and how life is different outside of calvin)
- Events. The one that we want to do for the first event is to go as a group to see 7 Passages. We could possibly show movies as well as having other outings.
The group was approved for creation and will begin its work in this current school year.
Congrats to all the students and their hard work at Calvin, a school that was very welcoming and very tolerable to all people despite their stance that “homosexual behavior” is still a sin.