By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

PORTLAND, Oregon, February 20, 2008 ( – The University of Portland, a Catholic university run by the Holy Cross Fathers, has officially recognized the university’s first-ever sexuality club, the Gay Straight Partnership (GSP).

The GSP’s mission, according to the club’s constitution, is “to build a community that is open and welcoming to all students” and “to help all students grow in friendship, knowledge, faith and service.”

Although the university administration had turned down previous requests to form a homosexual student’s club (in 1994 and 1999), the school was listed in 2004 as a ‘gay friendly’ institution by homosexual activist website (see report: U.S. Homosexual Activist Website Provides List of ‘Gay Friendly’ Catholic Parishes, ).

A group of 10 UP students applied for club recognition with Student Activities last November. Their request were approved by University vice president for enrollment management and student life, John Goldrick, after they were asked to amend their proposal to remove a section on networking with other schools and similar clubs in the area, and choosing different advisors.

The club’s initial advisers, social work professor Anissa Rogers and Kristina Houck, the Health Center’s substance abuse prevention coordinator, were replaced by Holy Cross Fr. John Donato and Stacey Noem, a campus minister.

Donato said that he was chosen to be the club’s new adviser not only because he can act as a liaison between the administration and the students, but also for his ability to “vocalize and facilitate the mission of the university.”

“The fact that I am a Holy Cross priest and the associate vice president for student life is a good way to make sure that this group stays focused for what we hope all student groups are involved in, but also this particular one which deals with the sacred area of human sexuality,” Donato said.

Although the Gay Straight Partnership has made pains to state that it will be adhering to Catholic teaching on sexuality, experience has shown pro-family advocates that such alliances typically result in the push to normalize and to affirm as morally acceptable an active homosexual lifestyle amongst university students.

A memo released by the GSP said, “the group will provide balanced programming and education and will offer a clear, faithful presentation of the Catholic Church’s teaching about human sexuality and sexual orientation.”

However, evidence that the club would promote homosexual behavior as normal and acceptable was offered by Valerie Silliman, Portland’s GSP president and co-founder, who said that her “big dream is that [the club] will last for 25 years until we don’t even need gay straight alliances because our community would already be welcoming.

“I hope it will encourage gay students to come to our university. I hope that gay students who are here will stay involved on campus rather than being marginalized and feeling alone. I hope that lots of straight people will be involved, and I hope people find answers and find questions.”

“I think [the club] opens up new doors that were once closed on this campus due to a lack of diversity,” sophomore Brandon Pratt, told The Beacon

To express your concern please contact:

Congregation of Holy Cross in Oregon
5408 N Strong St.
Portland, OR 97203
Phone: (503) 943-8024
E-mail: [email protected]

John Goldrick
5000 N. Willamette Boulevard
Portland, OR 97203-5743
Phone: (503)943-7207
email: [email protected]

Archbishop John G. Vlazny
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
2838 E. Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214
Phone 503-234-5334 Fax 503-234-2545
[email protected]