"The very life of a young person could hinge upon Christians at Samford"

Dear Dr. Westmoreland,

I write to you as both a Samford alumna (class of 1991) and as a college educator.  If free intellectual inquiry cannot take place at a university, then I do not know where it can take place.  Samford Together seeks to create a space where Samford students, faculty, and staff members can discuss human sexuality in a safe and respectful manner.  It is the perfect example of students taking the lead in exploring truth and showing grace to each other.  I humbly request that Samford Together receive an up-or-down vote from the university’s board of trustees as any other student group seeking recognition would receive.

Earlier this summer, I attended the funeral of Jay Griffin.  Jay—a transgender young man—was only thirteen years old when he died by suicide.  Jay’s mother—Erin Griffin Georgia—was a student of mine at Jefferson State Community College.  Erin now attends Samford on a full scholarship and also is a student employee for Samford’s Evening College program.  Please know that for Erin and so many others like her, LGBTQ rights are not just an “issue.”  The very life of a young person could hinge upon Christians at Samford—no matter their theological bent—showing grace and love to others.  I write this letter for Erin and in memory of Jay.

Thank you for reading this.  May God bless you and our beloved university.

Liesl Ward Harris, Ph.D. 

Brit Blalock