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LGBT Students at Harding University Cry Out for Help in Web Zine; School Immediately Blocks Access



This is the first page of "The State of the Gay at Harding University", a web zine published by LGBT students at Christian conservative Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Students have written anonymously about the oppression they encounter at the university, where "conversion therapy" is demanded over the threat of expulsion.

Our tipster writes that within a few minutes of its publishing, the university has reportedly blocked access to it from its computers.

Some quotes from it:

"All is not well for us at Harding. Our voices are muted, our stories go unheard, and we are forced into hiding. We are threatened with re-orientation therapy, social isolation, and expulsion. We are told stories and lies that we are disgusting sinners who are damned to hell."

‎"Three days a week in Harding's Counseling Center, I moved from therapist to therapist trying to find a way out. It was my final act of desperation. The choices were as follow: be saved from my closeted sin or death. I had it all planned out. If this failed, I would die. I had already gotten the gun. It was under my dorm room bed."

‎"My dreams of love ended as counselors told me I would be alone for the rest of my life."

The Arkansas Times has sought comment from school officials but to this point has not received any.

Read the zine HERE. Download it here (PDF).

UPDATE: David Crouch, Director of Public Relations at Harding University, has released a statement:

Harding University is a private Christian university whose mission and policies are rooted in biblical principles. All students are given a copy of the handbook and know about our mission and policies before their first day on campus. The student handbook states that the university holds to the biblical principle that sexual relationships are unacceptable to God outside the context of marriage and that sexual immorality in any form will result in suspension from the university.

Based on that policy, university administrators felt that having this website available on campus goes against said mission and policies. In addition, the handbook states that any literature distributed on campus must be approved by the Office of Student Life and must state the name of the sponsoring organization. These pamphlets were both printed and distributed anonymously with no prior approval, and the website is an online version of that pamphlet.

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  1. So glad I just turned down an adjunct position there this January!

    Posted by: Erstegeiger | Mar 3, 2011 9:45:50 AM

  2. Why on earth would ANY LGBT student want to attend this bigoted University!

    I ask the same thing about all of these lesbian moms who send their children to Cathloic schools only to be hated and kicked out by the school. Ugh!

    Posted by: John | Mar 3, 2011 9:51:55 AM

  3. I'm thoroughly impressed. I hope the situation isn't as bad as the zine makes it out to be though, otherwise I also fear for the safety of these kids. Keep anonymous!

    Posted by: Phil | Mar 3, 2011 9:56:41 AM

  4. I hope these kids get out of this situation. But, they are being very strong in exposing this school and their actions. I'm sure they have all come together to bond in the face of such adversity. But, this is just another example of why we SHOULD NOT associate ourselves with religious fundamentalists/conservatives. They hate us, and they are going to make our lives a living hell, and the more we have gained acceptance, the worse they are going to make our lives.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 3, 2011 10:05:49 AM

  5. "We are children of God." Learn to rid yourself of your need to indulge in that sort of irrational Jeebusite thinking and the rest of the poisonous crap will just fall away. The first step is the hardest.

    Posted by: candide | Mar 3, 2011 10:18:04 AM

  6. There are plenty of college choices-- and yet they chose this one!??? If they are there simply because Mommy and Dad are footing the bill and chose the school, then now is the time to cut the apron string. Take out a student loan, and go to a real college. This one clearly is about brainwashing. GET OUT.

    Posted by: Dom Anselm | Mar 3, 2011 10:25:07 AM

  7. For Christ's sake....GO TO ANOTHER UNIVERSITY! Let the Religitards have their crappy school.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 3, 2011 10:26:46 AM

  8. People stuck in these situations where they don't see a way out need a safe place to go, akin to a battered women's shelter. This is horrible mental abuse that can only harm them in the long run and unfortunately some could end up taking their own lives. It gets better but they need to get out, but where do they go?

    Posted by: Todd | Mar 3, 2011 10:26:57 AM

  9. http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2011/03/03/harding-responds-on-blocking-gay-website

    Posted by: Johnny | Mar 3, 2011 10:30:31 AM

  10. Presumably these people are adults. Adults have the ability to make their own choices. Why would you choose to go to a school or be part of a religion that is so vile towards LGBT people? Why stay where you are not wanted? I have no sympathy for the people in this situation. LEAVE!! Religion is just a bunch of made up stories that have no place in a modern society. Clearly RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING!!!!! LEAVE!!!

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 3, 2011 10:30:53 AM

  11. DOM

    a student loan? will you spend the decades paying it back for them

    student loans are not cheap

    I personally would cut the apron strings from mommy and daddy, but can sympathize with those who choose to allow their parents to pay for the college education

    I do wonder if this cult school gets any fed $

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Mar 3, 2011 10:31:07 AM

  12. Of course it gets funding, if only through student loans and grants.

    Most universities in the U.S. [probably all] would go out of business without federal student loans and various grants. Most people could never afford the kind of prices colleges and universities charge, aside from state subsidized state schools.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 3, 2011 10:33:58 AM

  13. Some of you sound so privileged to the point of being callous! Not everyone can afford to just up and leave their university. You don't know what sort of financial constraints or binding university-specific scholarships some folks may have. And, yes, it sounds self-destructive to enroll at a conservative Catholic univ. as a gay student, but not everyone knows they are gay at age 17. In fact, many people start coming out to themselves during college. Open your minds and your hearts, people.

    Posted by: Priscilla Queen of the Jungle | Mar 3, 2011 10:44:07 AM

  14. Allow me to extol the virtues of the lowly paragraph, an editorial device designed to facilitate the rapid consumption of densely-packed thoughts and ideas by segmenting them into manageable chunks.

    This zine cries out for them.

    Posted by: Keppler | Mar 3, 2011 10:49:08 AM

  15. @Priscilla--
    Caveat emptor. No, not every student may know they are gay, but a modicum of research reveals the clenched heart and pinched spirit of this so-called institution of higher learning. People CHOOSE to attend colleges and universities--and these poor souls have made a miserable choice to matriculate at the trash pile called Harding U. That particular leopard ain't changing its spots anytime soon.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Mar 3, 2011 11:17:14 AM

  16. Hard to feel too sorry for people who choose to go to a Christianazi university and then get treated poorly.

    Posted by: Jasun | Mar 3, 2011 11:20:14 AM

  17. C'mon Joe - ADULTS? Most kids are 18 when they first go to college--and probably it's their first time away from home where they can begin to take a look at themselves apart from family roles expectation.

    And if they or their parents chose this school, chances are very good that these kids have had very little exposure to anybody who thinks differently from what's allowed in the narrow confines of family and church. It takes time to become an adult. 18 allows you to vote but how many 18yo's decision-making capacity would you be willing to trust yourself? College is only the beginning of becoming an adult.

    Meanwhile, in addition to unrealistic, your response is pretty cold - even nasty.

    Posted by: Danny | Mar 3, 2011 11:30:05 AM

  18. I didn't come out until I was 20. But I knew and was fearful prior to my coming out - at a Christian University. These students need support. It's like telling gays in Iran to leave when they don't even know that leaving is an option. Life's pretty scary for the dependant and the closeted. Way back when, I was out away from home but extremely dependant yet closteted from my parents. It's the battered wife syndrome. They need support where they are before they can find it in themselves to make a change.

    These students should repost their website as many times as the University blocks them. Keep changing addresses. Where there's a will there's a way.

    Posted by: Gregory | Mar 3, 2011 11:45:55 AM

  19. These so-called "counselors" are incompetent, negligent and outright dangerous to the well being of their clients. Their professional credentials should be revoked immediately.

    Posted by: Boone | Mar 3, 2011 11:52:03 AM

  20. I grew up in the church of christ... ive been to harding... These students need our support. The coc doesnt believe in "praying the gay away"... Thats too pentecostal.... They just think its a choice and that u can just not be gay by not having sex with the same gender.... Some at pepperdine (another coc school) are progressive on gay rights but 99 percent of coc communities think that gays are not christian and not saved. Harding is a lonely place for anyone different

    Posted by: Danachilton | Mar 3, 2011 11:58:34 AM

  21. Yes, this is horrible and we need to get the Universities like this to change, but why on earth would you enroll in one of those universities in the first place when you know you are not welcome there? If the situation is really bad there, leave!

    Posted by: ravewulf | Mar 3, 2011 12:15:44 PM

  22. I actually graduated from Harding University. I was there from 1998-2002. I was about as out as you could get without getting kicked out (essentially all my friend knew and most of my faculty... but it wasnt a topic for discussion on campus). The reason I went/stayed at Harding University is because I really liked the academics and the people. The university administration and some of the bible professors are the only ones that actually believe the crap they preach about Homosexuality. The rest of the faculty are surprisingly open minded.
    I think what these students are doing is extremely brave and VERY important in the ongoing fight against bigotry. Environments like Harding can only be challenged from the inside out. You cant just sit around whining about gay rights and not be willing to put yourself out there and risk something important to get it. These students are heros.

    Posted by: Godmund Schick | Mar 3, 2011 12:25:35 PM

  23. I have spent years working on myself and the damage that the COC, Harding Academy, and Harding University weaved into my childhood. After two years at Harding University, my transfer to a state university was a breath of fresh air. Harding University can be a wonderful place for the ultra conservative . HU would be the last place i would go to if I was open and out. Wow these kids are courageous and need all the support they can get, and I fear for them.

    Posted by: Kevin | Mar 3, 2011 12:58:19 PM

  24. Harding University banned black students until the policy changed in the 1960's. Efforts at the time to end the ban resulted in the leaders of the college making speeches to the students on why blacks are cursed (because Ham saw his father naked and was banished to the South) and how natural law shows us that birds of different colors should not flock together.
    This mentality has a long history at Harding.

    Posted by: Greg | Mar 3, 2011 1:09:25 PM

  25. Harding was the school my parents wanted me to go to after high school. They made me apply, I wasn't given a choice in the matter. My entire childhood I was told by my parents that they would only pay for college if I went to a Church of Christ one. So, after high school I had a choice, go live in an extremely oppressive environment (even more oppressive than the one I was already in) and get an education, or not go school at all. I chose not to go to college.

    Posted by: loveintraffic | Mar 3, 2011 2:03:24 PM

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