Concordia University approves QSA charter

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Katie Shepherd/ Willamette Week

Concordia University-Portland announced on Friday its administration agreed to recognize the Queer Straight Alliance as an official student group.

An open letter posted today writes, “As a Christian university, in the spirit of respect, love, and humility, Concordia University-Portland accepts the charter as proposed by the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) club. We remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we support all students, particularly people from groups who have historically been marginalized.”

As reported Tuesday, the QSA held its final meeting Jan. 15 to announce they would no longer be recognized as a student group. The reason, the group said, was because the university would not accept this phrase in their charter:

“Raise awareness and change perceptions of Christian folks. We meant this as a way for LGBTQ and allied folks to see Christian folks under a more positive light than is often associated with the Christian identity period. Many folks (including LGBTQ folks) think that someone can’t be LGBTQ and Christian, or that Christian folks do not support LGBTQ folks. We want to change these perceptions and ensure that everyone is understood for their own values and identities.”

At the time, the Events Review Committee at CUP wrote this statement was “maybe not respectful/honoring of the University’s Christian identity and values or of Christian values.”

The university is part of the Concordia University System, which is under the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a small conservative branch of the Lutheran Church. It is suspected that pressure from the church caused CUP to cancel several queer-themed events as well as rejecting the QSA’s charter.

The QSA said in a statement on Facebook, “We are cautious about the university’s ability to follow through on these promises under current policies and LCMS ownership. Under current Clubs & Events Policies, our club cannot exist and operate as intended. We fear that these policies will continue to discriminate against clubs and events when they seem to misalign with LCMS doctrine and values.”

The group added, “We are reticent to reinstate the QSA under these policies, which clearly do not allow for the celebration, empowerment, or advocacy of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Since the QSA announced their final meeting, local news outlets and concerned citizens, particularly drag performer Anthony Hudson, spread their story across social media.

The QSA offered “a resounding thank you for all the support that continues to pour in across campus.”

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