"I do not understand why LGBTQ students continue to be treated differently"

Dear Dr. Westmoreland,

Like many Samford alumni, I found myself paying rather close attention to the events that unfolded this summer concerning my alma mater, the group Samford Together, and the Alabama Baptist State Convention. Instead of merely being a passive observer, however, I wanted to take a moment to express to you some of the concerns that these events have generated for me.

Since graduating in 2012, I have been a member of the group SAFE Samford, an organization that promotes LGBTQ inclusion and equality at Samford. It has long been my hope that Samford can be a place of learning, community, and growth for all, regardless of their sexual orientation. As such, I was delighted to hear of the faculty’s approval of the student group Samford Together – albeit somewhat dismayed that they felt the only chance at becoming a true student organization was to present themselves in such a passive and milquetoast manner.

That delight quickly turned to shock and then to dismay when I was made aware of your decisions in July. While I confess I am glad to see the Alabama Baptist State Convention lose an undue level of influence in the cessation of their monetary gift, I cannot understand your choices surrounding Samford Together.

I do not understand why you chose to deny the group a proper hearing before the trustees, especially after such a robust display of support from the full faculty. I do not understand why important conversations about human sexuality need to be brought under the paternalistic aegis of the administration. I do not understand the concurrent approval of another student group (Young Americans for Freedom) which explicitly promotes the use of violence in its founding documents. I do not understand why LGBTQ students continue to be treated differently.

It is my hope and prayer that the university which was so formative for me can be a similar place for others, regardless of their sexual orientation. Until Samford Together is given a full hearing before the trustees, however, I worry that it will fall short of its immense potential.

Rev. Aaron Coyle-Carr, Class of 2012

Brit Blalock