Sunday, October 30, 2005

Conference on LGBT affairs in Catholic higher education held in San Francisco

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From the Washington Blade: Catholic colleges discuss making school a good place for gays Conference draws about 150 people SAN FRANCISCO (AP) | Oct 30, 7:00 PM More than 40 Catholic colleges were represented on Saturday at a conference that was billed as the nation's first on how gays and lesbians fit in at universities guided by a faith that says their sexual orientation is wrong. But rather than lamenting the Catholic Church's stand on homosexuality, the two-day "Out There" conference at Santa Clara University showed that plenty of gay-related scholarship and student affairs planning is going on in Catholic higher education, said co-organizer Linda Garber. "It's important and interesting to know there are Catholic universities that have offices and staff people specifically geared toward LGBT concerns," said Garber, director of the women's and gender studies program at Santa Clara. "There are a lot of people out there who are teaching (LGBT) studies without a national professional organization, a newsletter or anything." The conference drew about 150 people, most of them faculty and administrators who deal with gay subject matter or students. Topics included "Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University" and "Can I Be Gay and Catholic?" The continuing tension was demonstrated into the oft-repeated anecdote that Notre Dame University has had an active gay and lesbian student group for years, but the college does not recognize or provide financial support to the organization. One sign of how far the universities have come in openly addressing gay issues is that the dean's office and campus ministry at Jesuit-run Santa Clara provided money for the event, while the school's president sent a welcome letter to participants, said Lisa Millora, assistant dean for student life. "There are a lot of people who subscribe to Catholic values as they relate to academic work, but don't necessarily agree with how the Catholic Church carries out its work," Millora said. Among the universities represented at the conference were Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, La Salle, Marquette and Emory. Original Source: /thelatest.cfm?blog_id=3235