Villanova University hosts Community Forum on LGBT Inclusion
University President Addresses the Campus Community Regarding the Canceled Event with Tim Miller
Villanova, PA — The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) was in attendance at a Tuesday night meeting put together by a Villanova student and addressed by university president Father Peter Donohue.
The two hour meeting, which hosted upwards of 200 students, faculty members and administration officials, served as a direct response to last week’s abrupt cancelation of openly gay performance artist Tim Miller’s previously scheduled week-long workshop.
“I apologize to members of the community who felt offended,” Donohue said. “That was not our intent.”
Father Donohue continued to clarify that he had learned of the event on Feb. 10, and decided to cancel the event after two weeks of receiving a “flood” of emails from alumni and parents as well as noted backlash from Catholic watchdog group the Cardinal Newman Society. The reverend also expressed that the decision was based on anticipated uproar in the larger community and a lack of time to “wrap around a unified message,” but nonetheless asserts that the decision was in no way made because Miller is gay.
“We are not a homophobic institution,” he said. “I am not homophobic; it is not something we should stand for…if that is evident, I need to know that, and we’ll address it.” He went on to speak about inclusion of LGBT members of the Villanova community: “my first priority is supporting the community, all of the community; the nature of the gospel calls us to do that.” He continues to state that “if any of us are being singled out or discriminated against – first, foremost, and strongly we will deal with it.”
Heidi Rose, assistant professor of communications at Villanova and organizer of the canceled event, urged the university to issue a direct apology to Miller.
“[Tim] is desperately hurt and outraged,” Rose said. “We own him an apology… if we are going to be Augustinian we need to address this.”
PSEC commends Father Donohue for taking accountability and creating dialogue between administration officials and members of the Villanova community. PSEC hopes that, going forward, the university administration will continue to stand behind its LGBT members who so desperately rely on them as a proponent of acceptance and equality.