Response to President Privett’s “Pride” Statement to Faculty

As adjunct faculty in the School of Education, I am writing to express my strong disagreement with the views expressed by President Privett in a message sent to the faculty on June 28.  In that message, President Privett explained his rationale for taking down a “Pride” ad from the University’s Facebook and Instagram feeds.  President Privett continues that due to the timing of the ad—the same week when the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court—the ad might be misconstrued as the University’s unqualified support for the Court’s decision.  He also adds that his decision stemmed , in his words,  from his “own sensitivity to those who sincerely oppose same-sex marriage and are neither bigoted nor anti-gay.”

I submit that the University’s taking down of the “Pride” ad can, in fact, be construed as the University’s aligning with the position held by those who support same-sex marriage.  I further question the notion of whether one can be in favor of denying gay couples their right to marry and at the same time not be anti-gay.  The University of San Francisco has a tradition of scholarship and community work that strive for social justice.  Support for justice for some groups of people but not others, in my opinion, runs counter to that tradition.

If we are to continue our work “towards a more humane and just world for all,” as President Privett writes, then we need to walk the walk consistently, even at times when passions on various issues run high.  Finally, respectfully acknowledging those with whom we disagree, which is a point President Privett also raises in defense of his decision, should not entail silencing ourselves or withdrawing our sincere position on any given issue.  A “Pride” ad shows pride in our LGBTQ community.  I do not believe it shows an attitude of disrespect toward those who hold opposing views.

Ilze B. Duarte is an Adjunct Professor in the International and Multicultural Education Department School of Education

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