[UPDATE: Currently, 246 alumni have signed our open letter, and we will continue to add alumni signatures to this page. If you are a Westmont alum and would like to participate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org clearly stating your graduation year and willingness for your name to appear on this list.]
A group of 131 Westmont College alumni have signed an open letter in support of LGBT students at the Christian liberal arts college. The college’s “Community Life Statement” condemns “practices that Scripture forbids,” listing “homosexual practice” alongside such actions as “theft” and “dishonesty.” The institutional climate forecloses open discussion and reinforces the college’s official stance through teachings in mandatory chapel services and in college courses classifying “homosexuality” as a deviant behavior (see SOC 182, Westmont College Academic Catalog 2009-2010, p. 188).
Thirty-one of the signers have offered their names “as proof that LGBT people do exist within the Westmont community.” By publicly self-identifying, these LGBT alumni hope to reach out to the Westmont community and to prevent current students from feeling the same isolation that many experienced as Westmont students.
In addition, 100 “allies” have signed in support of their “LGBT friends and classmates.” This coalition of both LGBT and allied individuals embodies the very ideals of community life that are so integral to Westmont's own ethos. The letter represents an unprecedented, unified effort of alumni dating back to the class of ‘81, and will hopefully inspire the college to begin a more open, intellectually rigorous dialogue on the subject.
The current open letter was preceded by a November 16th, 2010 editorial in support of homosexual Christians, written by a graduate of Asbury College in Kentucky. When Asbury’s college newspaper declined to print the letter, it was sent to Christian colleges across the country. It appeared in the Westmont Horizon with the disclaimer "Not a Westmont student" under the author’s name.
The signatories wish to demonstrate that there is, in fact, wide support among Westmont students for more open discussion within the college community. Following recent high-profile cases of homophobic bullying and gay suicides, the signatories believe the time has come for the prevailing silence to be broken.