"please help Samford to unite despite these 'smaller differences' and embrace all of God’s children as equals"
Dear Dr. Westmoreland,
I write to you today, as so many others have already done, to urge you to reconsider your decision regarding Samford Together. I have read each of the letters written to you by faculty, staff, alumni, and current students. As an alumnus from the class of 1997, I fully support this initiative and I hope that, in time, you will be able to lend your support to this student organization as well.
Like so many who have already written you, I too, loved my time at Samford. I had an educational experience that was unparalleled, and my time at Samford literally changed the course of my life, both personally and professionally. For this, I am forever grateful.
However, I have always held my alma mater at “arm’s length” knowing that Samford, and many of my peers, did not understand the journey of an LGBT student on her campus. I suspect that I am not the only student who arrived at Samford as a freshman not knowing they were gay, but in time, came to learn this truth. On one hand, Samford was a tough place to figure out this life lesson. On the other hand, I had some of the greatest times of my life during my four years on campus, and would not trade my Samford experience for anything in the world.
Dr. Westmoreland, I hope you can recognize that you are the President of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are gay, and who are on your campus every day. Samford also has a cadre of highly successful gay alumni, many of whom would welcome the news that Samford Together has been officially recognized as a student group. You are also the President of LGBT allies, and for them, I am so very grateful. I hope these allies will reach out to students who may need a friendly, listening ear. Ultimately, I hope that Samford Together will be a recognized student group so that Samford’s LGBT students and allies will have a place to come together and support one another.
I hope we can all agree that we serve one very big God, who can handle anything. My prayer is that the hearts of Samford’s leaders will be changed and opened to all of her students. As the great John Wesley once said, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.” Dr. Westmoreland, please help Samford to unite despite these “smaller differences” and embrace all of God’s children as equals.
All the best,
Charity Bryan, PhD
Samford University Class of 1997