CENTER VALLEY, Pennsylvania, August 9, 2012 (CardinalNewmanSociety.org) - An online petition circulated by an alumnus aims to push DeSales University, a faithful Catholic college, to reconsider the decision to not allow a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender student-run organization on campus. The petition has led to a strong response from the university.

DeSales alumnus Tim Gallagher reportedly posted a petition on Change.org in response to repeated denials by university officials to allow an LGBT student group on campus. The petition has garnered only 383 signatures at the time of publication, not all of whom are students or graduates of the Pennsylvania college.

“We are truly a Catholic institution, so we wouldn’t formally endorse or support a group in direct contradiction to Church teaching,” Vice President of Student Life Jerry Joyce told The Cardinal Newman Society. “It’s pretty straightforward from my perspective.”

He pointed out that this doesn’t mean students struggling with their identities should feel as though they’re not welcome. “Everyone’s welcome at DeSales, ” he said. “We want every student know they’re respected as a human being with dignity.”

Joyce pointed out that he was proud in a way that the petition from an alumnus isn’t bombastic or fiery but seeks to promote reasoned debate. “He (Gallagher) is actually engaging in a healthy respectful debate,” he said. “We’re proud that he has the courage to stick up for what he believes.”

But he reiterated that the university would not be changing its policy.

The petition reads:

Each student at DeSales University is told repeatedly to “be who you are and be that well” per the direction of St. Francis de Sales. This is a wonderful motto but currently excludes LGBT students and alumni. The university has repeatedly denied requests to allow a Gay Straight Alliance on campus and has even turned down an application for a PRIDE DSU club which sought to celebrate diversity on campus. Meanwhile, 16 Catholic Colleges in Pennsylvania have officially recognized pro-homosexual clubs, LGBTQ Resource Centers, or student organizations according to a recent poll.

IT IS TIME that we stand up for our fellow bulldogs and allow each person to live out the Salesian motto and “Be who you are and be that well” without threat of persecution or harassment.

DeSales University is recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

This article is published with permission from CardinalNewmanSociety.org.