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7 Posts

Posted - 2006 April 11 :  23:21:27  Show Profile  Visit davidav87's Homepage  Send davidav87 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
The gay population at St. John's is extremely small, but students are mostly accepting. However students often make offensive anti-gay comments without realizing's not terrible though.
The admin, on the other hand, is a bit less accepting of the gay population. When I emailed people about starting a Pride club I recieved no responses, and I eventually spoke to someone in person who then transferred me to someone else, who then transferred me to someone else. They didn't really seem warm to the idea of the club. Eventually I just decided to start the club myself (I should say that Mark Johnston seemed supportive of the club, but by no means enthusiastic...I remember him questioning the need of such a club).
The club had only a few members due to the small gay-population at the college.
I left last semester, and the club left with me (from what I've heard).

I think the college needs to be a little more sensitive to minority and gay issues. The student body is accepting of the small gay population, but it is certainly not a place where a closeted student might feel comfortable to come out. The college I attend now is dramatically different in this respect. The change came almost as a shock: this school has a gay house, coming out confessionals, an annual queer arts festival, a diversity center and several other things that make gay people comfortable and closeted students comfortable to come out. All schools should strive to make their minority/gay students comfortable.

I'm still disturbed by the omission of "accepting of gay students" list on the press release for the Princeton Review rankings on the college website, but I also feel the list is inaccurate. I'm going to a new school now (that ranks lower on that list), and it is very, very accepting. And I feel that its large gay population is a result of programs the admin has instituted or supported.
College is a place, first and foremost, to recieve an education. But it is also a place to "find yourself" and grow. The college needs to realize this and institute programs that will help people grow.

I gave that up a long time ago.

Edited by - davidav87 on 2006 April 11 23:25:46

Frederick Douglass

9 Posts

Posted - 2006 October 25 :  01:02:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with David Vidaurre that there is a dichotomy between how students and the administration view gay students on the Santa Fe campus. Students are very warm and welcoming; I have never heard of anyone making fun of or mistreating a gay student. David raises an interesting issue when he notes that the college failed to include St. John's College's placement on the "Gay community accepted" and "Lots of race/class interaction" lists in the press release on its Web Site last year. The college proudly displayed its placement in many other categories (including "Dodge ball targets"), but these two were notably absent, implying that the administration did not consider them to be positive aspects of the college community. The administration made a conscious decision with this omission to shy away from attracting gay and minority students. The only explanation that I can offer for this action is simple bigotry. Princeton Review apparently got the intended message, for St. John's does not appear on the "Gay community accepted" list this year. I hear that the Annapolis campus does not have as positive an environment for gay students as the Santa Fe campus does; it would be a shame if the Santa Fe campus also developed an intolerant atmosphere.
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Posted - 2009 March 11 :  13:30:10  Show Profile  Visit Publius's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Lesbian GI Student at Annapolis - perspective

Hi there - I am a somewhat older student (42). I sometimes wish that I had gone to St. John's as an undergraduate, but the reality is that at age eighteen it would not have been realistic for me for social reasons. Despite having grown up in the DC Suburbs, I did not know any other gay people, had never had a girlfriend, and was desperate for an opportunity to date, and so going to a gay-friendly college about six hours away from my parents was one of the best choices I ever made.

Now, as a graduate student who has a partner (who is a Johnnie '92 SF) and who has been very out ever since my freshman year in college, the lack of gayness is not that much of a problem for me, although I have to say that aside from one tutor, nobody on campus has ever directly come out to me. There are a few people whom I 'suspect' to be gay, but it has never been confirmed.

It would be great to have more out students, as well as more students of different faiths besides Christianity (I can't imagine any other college in the East Coast where it would be possible for a tutor to be identified as "the Jewish guy"), or of no religious faith at all. Aside from its not being particularly gay friendly, another reason I probably would have shied away from St. John's would be the perception that studying the "Great Books" implies some kind of pro-Western agenda, whereas now I believe that having people from other traditions, especially Buddhist and Hindu traditions, weigh in on the conversation would be quite enriching. It is not as if Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Einstein, etc. were not concerned with the same issues as were the Buddha, Nagarjuna, etc; they merely approached them from a somewhat different perspective.

And, back to the subject at hand, even a mention of "sexual orientation" on the web site or the Princeton profile would mean a lot. I mean, come on, we're talking about Socrates all the time, Hello? -- Lisa Moscatiello (keeping up the "out" tradition)
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