Emporia State announced at Founder’s Day that the new residence hall would be named after Kay Schallenkamp, a former ESU president.
A former ESU president that removed a clause protecting faculty, staff and students from being dismissed due to sexual orientation in 1998. By removing the clause, gay and lesbian students at ESU lost any legal ground to protect themselves if they were discriminated against because of their sexuality.
But she created the Power E and was the first female president of a regent school, so it’s fine though.
Or at least it is at ESU.
I’m not saying those aren’t important accomplishments. Being the first female president is a step forward for all women.
Yet, I wonder why that overshadows a disregard for the rights of LGBTQ students?
Schallenkamp said the removal of the clause came in response to advice from general counsel and it was a “liability” for the school because sexual orientations weren’t protected on a federal or state level.
The “liability” was partly because there wasn’t a clear enough definition of what sexual orientation discrimination could be.
If it was such a liability, then K-State, KU and other regent schools who had similar policies would have removed them as well. But they didn’t.
ESU was the only one.
And instead of defining discrimination, ESU took the easy way out.
The protections were also removed less than a month after the murder of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, tortured and left to die in Wyoming Oct. 6, 1998 because of his sexuality.
I don’t care about whatever bullshit excuse for removing the protections that administration and Schallenkamp came up with.
If they cared about their student body, let alone their LGBTQ students, they would have known better than to remove it following one of the most prominent anti-gay hate crimes in the US.
And sure, Schallenkamp replaced the clause.
But only months later, after receiving severe backlash.
And yeah, she issued a statement apologizing for any hurt the removal caused.
That still doesn’t erase that it happened. It doesn’t erase that ESU named a residence hall after her, without a single mention of that discrimination against LGBTQ students.
So, ESU, what’s more important to you? Letting ESU sweep this under the rug? Or letting your friends, peers and community members know that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and should not be rewarded?