Putting the “L” in PLU

David Leon, Guest Writer

Over the years I have struggled with what it means to be a “Lute.” I came to Pacific Lutheran University in the fall of 2010 with an open mind and heart, ready to take on this institution. But over the course of my last five years at PLU the same question continues to bother me.

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I suffered a stroke and was pronounced dead for about 2-3 minutes. I am not religious and I’m barely spiritual. This is what happens when you’ve died once.

People automatically formed ideas of who I am and why I am here simply because I am attending a college like Pacific Lutheran University.

Just a week ago, a young woman on the confessions page commented on a post about how I, as a student here at this grand institution, should be representing the community and myself because I work as a Diversity Advocate on campus. She meant religious representation. I deleted and blocked her from the page.

This young woman does not know my story, nor does she care to, all she appears to care about is the religious and spiritual beliefs which are so heavily tied into the “Lutheran” part of PLU. This person tried to define who I am for me. I am paying to go to this school, I am not paying to participate in any religious or faith based club, activity, social group, etc.

Pacific Lutheran University prides itself as a campus community that is inclusive of all gender identities, sexual identities, religious/faith affiliations and ethnic groups. That’s fine and dandy, but the fact of the matter is that a significant population of the students are white, privileged, religious and, at times, clueless and unwilling to educate themselves on the histories and stories of other students who don’t look, talk or act the way they do.

There are no courses on atheism, agnosticism and the like for students of non-faith. If you are going to preach about being inclusive, then show it. Accommodate students who struggle tremendously with faith and religion and don’t want to take many of the Christian based religion courses offered.

Perhaps creating an alternative to taking a religion course for non-faith students is a step towards an even more inclusive community. Students could, for example, take two alternative perspectives courses rather than the said religion course.The “L” in PLU does not define nor does it encompass the entire campus population and our views or beliefs.

One thought on “Putting the “L” in PLU

  • September 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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    The fact that remains is that this is still a church affiliated school. If it were a church-run school, then religion and spirituality would be incorporated into every subject, which here, it is not. As an affiliated school, there is still academic freedom. This school is supported by a lot of people in the Lutheran church, which helps to keep the doors open and fund scholarships, which are given out regardless of religious affiliation. So taking two religion classes, which are actually structured as history or humanities courses, in exchange for smaller classroom sizes and scholarships are a pretty good deal. It’s not like you’re forced to go to church. It also helps to broaden your horizons of the human experience, which as a Diversity Advocate, you should be for. If Diversity Advocates are paid, somehow, someway, your salary might be tied to the financial support given by Lutheran churches to keep this school going. If you want an atheist club, you should start one. You’ve also made yourself a public figure by having the confessions Facebook page, and by writing this article. If blocking someone because you don’t agree with them is what you consider diversity, then you are sorely mistaken, or perhaps just misguided. Or you should just admit you have your slants and biases, and not hide behind the banner of diversity and play the victim. Last but not least, you chose to enroll here, and you chose to stay here; there are many other options you could have chosen, so perhaps you should deal with the decisions you made, or do something about it.

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