My undergraduate institution was Harding University. Though there are many good things about Harding, it is one of the most conservative colleges one could hope to attend. Nearly all students are required to live on campus in dorms; there are nightly curfews for all students living in dorms; and students (and faculty!) can be kicked out (or fired as the case may be) for drinking alcohol, having sex, being gay, or even dancing. Along with the rules of conduct, students are required to attend daily chapel and Bible classes each semester. The rules are strict, but many students–most student’s parents, too–don’t mind them too much. Things don’t often change at Harding but something new is afoot.
An anonymous group known as HU Queer Press published a zine chronicling the stories of queer students who did or do attend Harding. In the zine (which can be read on their site) are many stories of queer students who have been ostracized, bullied, and belittled by their peers, educators, and administrators. Though there may not be much hope for immediate change on campus, I am excited that these brave students and former students have stood up and made their voices heard.
One note: I was not involved in the production or hosting of HU Queer Press, and I don’t know who they are. I just received an anonymous email a few days ago asking me to help with getting the word out since I have a blog. In fact I think it’s more powerful not knowing because they could be anyone I knew at Harding. (this note is directly stolen from Brett Keller’s much more thorough write-up of the zine)