Westmont College’s Erasure of LGBTQ Alumni

by intersectionalstranger

The negation of Westmont College’s LGBTQIA students does not come to an end at graduation. Elena Yee offers a heartbreaking tale of Westmont College’s damnatio memoriae of its LGBTQIA alumni:

Not too long ago I found out that an alum of a college I used to work at was being promoted into a significant position, and I thought it’d be great to have the news about him be part of the college’s list of on-line articles about alumni news.  When I asked the college about this, I was told that they had actually been tracking this alum’s career and have been wanting to interview him but he did not respond to their initial inquiry.  So I offered to follow-up and I did.

Well, it turns out that, yes, this alum received their inquiry and though he was open to being interviewed, he wasn’t so sure they were open to hearing what he had to say.  And it was no surprise that he said that he would have both very good things to say and some tough things to say about his experiences at the college.  I suppose this is true for most alum of any college in that one has mixed experiences as an undergraduate.  Yet it is particularly true for those who are marginalized due to race, sexual orientation, social economic status and so on to have some deeply difficult experiences at a PWI (primarily White institution).

It was also no surprise that the college rep said that they couldn’t interview and feature the alum after all.  What was most disconcerting (though not a surprise) is that the decision was based on the alum’s views about the college’s community life statement and sexual orientation.

In the end, what’s so sad is that the college continues to ignore the hundreds of successful LGBTQ alum that they could be proud of and feature in their alumni magazine but they won’t.  And several years ago LGBTG alum and allies sent an open letter to the college, which in the end led to not much of anything except my departure.

Go read the entirety of Elena Yee’s powerful story here and then join Westmont College’s LGBTQ students and alumni in affirming that Queer Stories Matter.