On-campus homophobia at Calvin: What does this mean for Hope College?

Last Tuesday, Calvin University students set up a display table on campus with messaging that suggested having an LGBTQ+ orientation is sinful. “LGBTQ IS SIN. THE BIBLE SAYS. Change my mind,” read a sign on the booth, and a nearby poster listed several different Bible verses that forwarded the students’ message.
Calvin students organized a silent sit-in on Thursday afternoon to protest the anti-LGBTQ display. “We want to tell the LGBTQ student body that they are loved, that they’re cared for and that they do belong on campus,” said Student Senator Jasmine Nykamp, who co-organized the protest. Calvin’s President Michael K. Le Roy issued a response to the college’s community the next day, writing that Calvin affirms “that sexual intimacy is a gift from God to be celebrated in marriage between a man and woman,” but also that “we affirm the image of God in our LGBTQ+ friends. We want all of our students to know that they are loved.”
“I was disappointed that there couldn’t have been more of a call for the total acceptance of students,” said Nykamp in response to LeRoy’s message. “I was hoping for more of a condemnation of what had happened, and maybe an acknowledgment that there will be consequences for this action.” According to Mlive.com, she said she wishes the president had condemned what she called “blatantly hateful behavior.”
It’s important to remember that Hope College isn’t far removed from this occurrence. Calvin and Hope may be rivals, but the two private Christian four-year colleges have a lot in common, both good and bad. Only recently did Hope remove its “Hope College Position Statement On Human Sexuality,” which stated that marriage was intended to be between a man and a woman, and create a more welcoming space for students identifying within the LGBTQ+ community.

Calvin students sitting-in in support of LGBTQ+ students on campus

Carole Chee ('24) is the editor for the Beyond section. A double major in English and Women's & Gender Studies, you can find her around campus in the Keppel House, behind the library's research help desk, or in the theatre props shop! She is passionate about uplifting each person's unique story and voice.

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