Our days at Gordon College began with a Sunday night chapel service. Many of our riders were in attendance while some stayed back to tweak presentations. The chapel was dark, with two single candles at the front. Students led the worship service. Worship songs were sung, Scriptures read, and prayers offered up as Equality Riders and Gordon students joined together.
The second day, which was the first official day on campus, began with a wonderful dinner in the evening with selected students and administrators. The tables were equally mixed with Riders and members of the Gordon College community. Conversation rang across the room as we had the perfect opportunity to discuss the oppressive policy toward LGBT students that Gordon hails.
Later that evening, a group of Equality Riders shared a presentation entitled, “Loving Like Jesus.” A rebuttal was given by Dr. Stan Gaede. There was also a question and answer session where students passed up index cards with their questions to the moderator.
After leaving the pack-out presentation in the chapel, Riders field questions from students during a more informal discussion time in the student center. Conversations continued for over two hours before we retired to our hotel for the night.
The second official day began with a presentation from the “spiritual violence” team. Members of this group told the stories of many GLBT people who are survivors of spiritual and physical violence. Gordon offered a professor of Sociology for the morning rebuttal. He didn’t present a rebuttal, though. His presentation detailed examples of society’s “othering” of groups of people that helped them detach from the emotional response to the oppression of these groups. It was refreshing to hear that someone actual got.
Equality Riders were invited to visit and speak in a few of Gordon’s classes. I, along with two other Riders, met with the Student Government executive board. During this time, we discussed the steps that Student Government could take to foster a safe environment for the students they represent. Mobilization of LGBTQ students and allies, the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance and possible future plans were discussed as foundational measures in forming a safe environment.
The day ended with lunch in the student cafeteria and another two hours of dialogue with students. I feel that most students welcomed the chance to discuss these human rights issues.