After demonstration, watching and waiting for change


After last Thursday’s silent demonstration against the absence of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Nondiscrimination Policy, the Redefine Purple Pride movement is taking a break and waiting for a response from the administration.


One of the leaders of the movement and organizers of the demonstration, senior Shanay Healy, said after an extremely busy ten days leading up to the demonstration, student activists need to focus on their classes. In the meantime, they are hopeful.


“We need to wait and give administration time to respond,” Healy said. “But this whole movement has created an amazing community, and it’s not the end of Redefine Purple Pride.”

Rise march copy.jpg

Students marched around the perimeter of campus before ending at Waldschmidt Hall.


Rise UP

Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON

Demon- stration organizer Shanay Healy, center, stands with the group on the academic quad. Some participants put tape over their mouths to symbolize LGBTQ students, faculty and staff who feel they can’t speak freely.


Umbrella copy.jpg

Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON

signs 2 copy.jpg

Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON

sign 3 copy.jpg

Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON

Sign 1.jpg

Giovanna Solano | THE BEACON




They are also planning a website they hope to put up soon.


“We need to have a place where anyone can interact with and have access to our material so we can continue to be transparent,” Healy said.


Healy said the movement has grown beyond the LGBTQ community and the need for a policy change.


“Even if the policy is changed, we don’t want to stop,” she said. “There are a lot of groups outside LGBTQ that feel silenced on this campus, even the ones that are protected under the Nondiscrimination Policy.”


According to Associate Vice President of University Relations and Chief Marketing Officer Laurie Kelley, the Ad Hoc President’s Advisory Committee on Inclusion, commissioned last November, is meeting to discuss student and staff concerns.


“[They have] been tasked with considering many of the issues raised in recent weeks about how we at the University of Portland can be the respectful, safe and inclusive community our faith calls us to be” Kelley said in an email.


Members of the committee include Director of Health Services Paul Myers, students Kirsten Rivera and Austin Veiga, professor Gary Malecha, associate professor Lauretta Frederking, professor Robert Duff, associate professor Elayne Shapiro, adjunct faculty and learning assistance counselor Br. Thomas Giumenta, Human Resources staff member Stacey Watanabe, Executive Assistant to the President Danielle Hermanny and Dean of Admissions Jason MacDonald.


Kelley said President Fr. Bill Beauchamp met with the committee this week and looks forward to receiving its feedback.


According to Kelley, a change to the Nondiscrimination Policy, as with all statutes of the University, would require careful discussion over multiple meetings by the University’s Board of Regents.


Outpouring of Support


The online petition urging the Board of Regents to adopt an LBGTQ inclusive policy at UP now has more than 1,700 signatures.


The movement continues to garner media attention from Fox News Oregon, Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, The Cardinal Newman Society and PQ Monthly, among others.


Before the demonstration, about 50 students gathered in St. Mary’s, and as the Bell Tower rang noon, they walked silently to the academic quad and stood in a triangle.


Many of the demonstrators taped their mouths shut with purple tape to symbolize people on campus who feel silenced because of their sexual identity or orientation. They held signs with slogans like “Jesus Doesn’t Discriminate,” “The Time for Tolerance is Now,” and “Rise UP for Equality.”


As classes let out, more students and several faculty joined the demonstration and the group swelled to more than 100. Demonstrators received frequent hugs from their friends, classmates and random supporters passing by. But several students, administrators and faculty took detours, apparently to avoid the demonstration.


While few faculty members stood with the students, several came by to give hugs and support, and many released their classes early so students could observe or participate in the demonstration. Reactions to Demonstration


Psychology professor Susan Baillet said she was thrilled by the demonstration and chose to release her class so students could join.


“I think this movement is addressing a very important movement, and that is human rights,” Baillet said.


Baillet said she is surprised at the open display of activism, something she says is rare for UP students.


“I don’t agree with the policy as it is now written and that the students are actively working to change it is wonderful,” Baillet said.


Nursing professor Pamela Potter said the peaceful nature of the demonstration was a testament to how the UP community can engage in difficult or uncomfortable discussions.


“I don’t even think it’s about anger anymore. It’s about ‘Hey wait a minute – this isn’t quite right yet,’” Potter said. “[The demonstration] was polite and profound.”


However, not everyone on campus thought the demonstration was polite or profound.


Senior Anne Rodwald said although she is in favor of rights for everyone, she does not support the demonstration.


“It’s awesome to see students take a stand,” she said, “but I feel like it’s disrespectful to the institution and to the priests on campus because there is not a ton they can do without going against the Church.”


Taking Action


At 1:45 p.m., the demonstrators marched silently through campus, ending in front of Waldschmidt Hall, where students removed the tape from their mouths and hummed “Amazing Grace.”


After no one from Waldschmidt Hall exited the building, the group marched to St. Mary’s, where they erupted in cheers and hugs.


Healy was ecstatic about the turnout.


“I feel so much energy coursing through me right now,” Healy said during the demonstration.


Senior Zack Muth, former secretary of the Gay Straight Partnership (GSP), said the student involvement was amazing.


“A year or two ago I never thought that I would see something like this,” Muth said. “I just don’t really have any words to express how great this is.”

Muth hopes the demonstration will encourage the UP administration and regents to follow the examples of other Catholic colleges such as Gonzaga University and Boston College by including sexual orientation in the nondiscrimination policy.

Looking Forward

The day after the demonstration, GSP Vice President junior Andrea Merrill met with Beauchamp to discuss concerns that she had voiced in an open letter to him in The Beacon.

“I knew he had read my letter, so I wanted to go in and say ‘Hey, this is my face, this who I am,” Merrill said.

Merrill said that although the Statement on Inclusion was a huge step for the University, she does not see that being lived out on campus. After speaking with Beauchamp, Merrill is hopeful that students and administration can collaborate to address discrimination on campus.

“I definitely walked out of that meeting feeling that he and other administration members were taking this very, very seriously and that they’re doing what they can to make sure that action was actually implemented on the statement of inclusion,” she said.

Merrill appreciated Beauchamp’s willingness to discuss the issue.

“He was totally casual throughout the entire meeting, and it was actually really nice,” Merrill said. “If you had told me a week and a half ago that I would be meeting with the University president, I would have been like ‘Wow, that’s funny.’”

After demonstration, watching and waiting for change – The Beacon.

Legg igjen en kommentar

Din e-postadresse vil ikke bli publisert. Obligatoriske felt er merket med *