SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 – 4:00 PM – HAMLINE UNIVERSITY
On the same day of the first protest (September 24, 2012), President Linda Hanson finally agreed to hold a public meeting at 4:00 pm in the University Center since students had demanded, from 11 am that day, to meet with her in response to the letter she issued out the night before. The letter had announced Hamline’s neutral position on the marriage amendment.
Hamline students, staff, and faculty packed the room as President Hanson and Provost Jensen, along with Board of Trustees Robert Klas (Vice Chair) and Ann Ness addressed student and faculty’s questions and comments regarding Hamline’s neutral position.
At the beginning of the meeting, President Hanson firmly stated that the Board of Trustees had already made their final decision – implying that student, staff, and faculty voices did not matter. Despite this, individuals approached the microphone to share their concern, frustrations, questions, and other comments. Only one individual expressed solidarity with the Administration’s position.
A few highlights:
- President Hanson remarked that racism and sexism were “settled issues” – implying that heterosexism and rights afforded to LGBTQIA people were not yet “settled” and therefore they were still a political issue – not one of civil rights.
- Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Robert Klas, remarked that the Board of Trustees accurately represents the University body. Klas stated this after students had remarked that the administration standing before them were all white, heterosexual, and wealthy. A large majority of board members are white and wealthy. We do not yet know if there are any, if at all, board members who are LGBTQIA
- Students and faculty shared personal stories of experiencing heterosexism and anti-gay bashing etc.
- Many stated that gay rights are civil rights and therefore ought to be recognized by an institution that values social justice.