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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tell Harding University: Don't Silence LGBT Students

Targeting: David Burks (President, Harding University), Harding University IT Services, and Harding University Communications Department
Started by: Michael Jones -

LGBT students at Harding University released a very heartfelt and powerful e-zine, The State of The Gay, telling the stories and giving voice to the experiences of gay and lesbian students at the school. The goal? To convey what it's like to be LGBT on campus, and to push for dialogue in hopes that Harding University might one day become a school free of oppression, discrimination, and fear of queer people.
These are some awesome students. Too bad they're dealing with some not-so-awesome administrators.
Students with the Harding University Queer Press have documented that the University has banned the Web site for The State of the Gay on campus, and they have a screen cap to prove it. If you try to go to, the page turns up a bold stop sign that says, "This site has been specifically blocked by the Harding University IT Policy Committee due to objectionable content."
At Harding University, just acknowledging the existence of LGBT people is considered "objectionable." So much for academic integrity.
Send the school a message that censoring LGBT web sites and hiding the presence of LGBT students on campus -- especially when we're talking about really heartfelt and tender stories told by Harding University LGBT students in The State of The Gay -- is wrong. All students should have a chance to express themselves, and LGBT students shouldn't be hidden or defined out of existence by Harding University administrators.

petition text -

Dear President Burks, Harding Communications Office, and Harding IT Services,
It recently came to my attention that Harding University is censoring a web site on campus,, where a group of current gay and lesbian students have come together to write about their experiences at Harding University. I am appalled that your University would choose to censor this material -- which features some emotional and heartfelt stories pertaining to issues like discrimination, diversity, and acceptance -- and urge you to stop silencing gay and lesbian students on your campus.

The message that Harding University is sending by banning this material from computers on campus is damaging to the school's overall reputation. How can Harding University be considered a leader in excellence when it filters the content that its students can view -- especially content that is not offensive, but just happens to deal with issues related to sexual orientation.

Allow students to access on campus. The message you're sending by banning this site is that Harding University is a place where administrators control the access to information, and where learning takes a backseat to education. Is that really the national reputation that Harding University wants to carve for itself?

Please reconsider this decision. Thank you for your time.

[Your name]

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