An Open Letter to Dr. Tony Campolo

Below is an open email to Dr. Tony Campolo.  We currently have 187 co-signors! Please stand with us! To add your name as a co-signor, please send an email to with your name and relationship to Eastern University (i.e. “Joe Smith, Class of 2013” or “Jane Smith, Parent of 2013 Graduate” or “Jamie Smith, Professor of History”).

April 10, 2013

Dear Dr. Campolo,
The Eastern University community loves you. For decades, you have been a voice for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the ignored; and you have earned the deepest respect and appreciation of the Eastern University community. It is in that light that I write this letter asking for your clear and public support for all members of the Eastern University community regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, Eastern University is not a safe place for sexual minorities because the university refuses to guarantee that they will be free from discrimination.

Students are attending Eastern University knowing full well that the school has anti-discrimination policies based on gender and race, but it has refused to make anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that for sexual minority students, Eastern University is simply not a place where the students can feel confident that the school would not allow their discrimination.

But students aren’t the only members in our community who are affected by Eastern not having a fuller anti-discrimination policy. Recently, a professor from a Christian school wrote an article for Inside Higher Ed expressing how the professor needs to hide his or her true self for fear of what would happen if the school learned of the professor’s sexual orientation. While the author remained anonymous and never named the school that he or she teaches at, it could very easily be describing the situation at Eastern University. Members of our community should never have to hide part of themselves for fear of what would happen if Eastern’s administration knew their true sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a school dedicated to “Faith, Reason, and Justice” Eastern University is falling short of its motto by failing to extend the anti-discrimination policy. Dr. Campolo, your voice can make an important difference at Eastern University for its students, faculty, and staff. In the last few weeks, Evangelical Christian leaders Rob Bell and Jim Wallis have publicly come out in support of same-gender marriage; I’m asking for your clear and public support of an anti-discrimination policy at Eastern University for sexual minorities.

Peace & blessings-
Ryan Paetzold, Founder & Director of OneEastern (Class of 2007)

Rachel (Kelso) Alabiso, Class of 1993
Richard P. Almquist, Jr., Class of 1989
Juan De Angulo, Class 2006, School of Leadership and Development 2007
Marta De Angulo, Class of 2012
Ashley (Hartman) Annis, Transferred
Cathy Little Ash, Class of 1982
Carly Banes, Class of 2010
Cheryl Barclay, Class of 1986
Christine Bayles Kortsch, Class of 1998, Adjunct and Assistant Professor in English-
Kara Belgiano Rhode, Class of 1999
Robert Bergen, Class of 2011
Melissa Berkey-Gerard, Class of 1994
Heather Binder Talak, Class of 1999
Marissa Binkoski, Class of 2012
Christopher Bittenbender, Professor of English since 1998
Rachel Blair, Class of 2013
Kathleen Blythe Pihl, Class of 2011
Bethany Boland, Class of 2009
Joy Bowman Lim, Class of 1995
Jennifer Bradley, Class of 1994
Michael Brix, Class of 1998, Campolo School for Social Change- Class of 2013
Molly Brooks, Class of 2011
Sara (Becker) Bruning, Class of 2004
Thomas Butler, Exchange student from New Zealand
Elizabeth Carlson, Class of 2006
Amanda M. Cattley, Class of 2006
Melody S. Chartier, Class of 1986
Caroline Cherry, Professor for 44 years
Bryant Christie, Class of 2013
Stephanie Ciner, Class of 2011
Joyce Clemmer Munro, Class of 1971, Professor of English
Emily Cody, Class of 2011
Stacie Chamberlin Collier, Transferred
Rev. Rene Colson Hudson, Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 1996
Frank Cooney, Class of 2007
Scott Craig, Class of 2002
Ann Culligan Voorhies, Class of 1999
Becca Cullum, Class of 2010
Jackson Curreri, Class of 2016
Thomas D’Adamo, Class of 2010
Ian Darwin, Class of 2012
Stacy Davidheiser, Class of 2005
Tara Dean Flakker, Class of 1995
Dr. Vincent deGregoris, Alum, Professor Emeritus at Palmer Theological Seminary
Charolotte deGregoris, Alum
Abbey DeSilva, Transferred
Lauren DeWitt, Class of 2005
Roy A. Donkin, Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 1978
Mandi Dorrell, Class of 2007
Jonathan Charles Ebersole, Class of 2010
Carlie Frederick Connair, Class of 2004
Katelyn Frustillo, Class of 2015
Kyle Fryling, Class of 2012
Zenique E. Gardner, Class of 2011
James Getz Jr., Class of 1996
Joseph Gidjunis, Instructor
Rebecca Gidjunis, Class of 2001, Lecturer in English
Josh Giessler, Class of 2008
Alaina Gilchrist, Class of 2009
Maya Golding, Class of 1995
Angelique Gravely, Class of 2013
Elisabeth (Revell) Grunert, Class of 2004
Jonathan Grunert, Class of 2005
Kayla Grzech, Transferred
Brianna Hall, Class of 2012
Mark Hallen, Director of Theatre
Michelle Harper Brix, Class of 1998
Rebekah Henson, Class of 2008
Richard E. Hinchman, Class of 1977, Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 1986
James Hix, Class of 2012
Katie Hoch Mount, Campolo School for Social Change- Class of 2004
Karin Hoffer Rezendes, Class of 2004
Max E. Holland, Class of 2014
Allen Houser, Class of 1992
Tasha Huffsmith Wilson, Class of 2013
April Hurd Ernisse, Class of 2008
Leanne Jacobs, Class of 2003
Steven Jacke, Class of 2002, Staff member
Elizabeth Johnson, Class of 2010
Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, Class of 1988
Jennifer Kane, Class of 2011
Rachel Keller, Class of 2009
Mindy Kemmerer-Scovner, Class of 1989
Lynn Alden Kendall, Transferred
David Kirkwood, Class of 1979
J. Sarah Kleintop, Class of 2011
Allison Kohler, Class of 2009
Daniel Kortsch, Class of 1998
Alison R. Krieger, Class of 1997
David Krueger, Palmer Theological Seminary- Class of 2002, Adjunct Professor
Martha Larson, Class of 2011
Kathryn Lee, Professor for 18 years
Sandy Lehr, Class of 1994
Doug Lent, Class of 1996
Kayla Levan, Class of 2011
Kylie Lezon, Class of 2009
Andrew Ludwig, Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 2004
Linda Macari, Mother of two EU graduates
Peter Macari, Class of 2007
Kevin Maness, Class of 1992, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Krissy Maness, Class of 2002
Danielle Marse-Kapr, Class of 2009
Russ Mast, Class of 1999
Kristen (Gaiser) Matteucci, Class of 2006
Micah Matthias, Class of 2006
Jim Maynard, Palmer Theological Seminary- Class of 1988
Christy McCoy, Class of 2011
Marla S. McCulloch, Class of 1993
Rex McCully, father of an EU graduate
Sydney McCully, Class of 2010
Mimi McKay, Class of 1995
Typhany Mcneill-Sellers, Class of 2008
Hannah Mills, Class of 2012
Jamie Moffett, Class of 1998
Betsy Morgan, Class of 1965, Professor for 32 years, Dean for 3 years
Ron Morgan, Class of 1965
Samantha Morrow, Class of 2010
Ray Mount, Class of 1999, M.Ed. 2012
Amanda Mueller, Class of 2013
Suzanne Muench, Class of 2000
Deanna Mullock, Class of 2013
Brian Murphy, EAPE Web Developer & Webmaster for 2 years
Stephanie Neill, Class of 1993
Julie Kay Newman, Class of 1994
Alethea Norton-Washburn, Class of 2009
Mikah Ochieng, Class of 2013
Tom Penna, Class of 2002
Angela Perino Miller, Class of 2006
Anna Perkins, Palmer Theological Seminary- Class of 2016
Rachel Perry Bergen, Class of 2006
Stella Perry, Parent of an EU graduate
Dwight N. Peterson, Professor of Christian Studies since 1998
Jaia Peterson Lent, Class of 1996
Margaret Kim Peterson, Professor of Christian Studies since 1998
Emily M. Pfizenmayer, Class of 2007
Beth Pratt-Russum, Class of 2008
Mark Pratt-Russum, Class of 2008
Julie Prey, Class of 1994
Christian Przybylek, Class of 2010
Taylor Ramage, Class of 2012
Sally Raudensky, Class of 2013
Amanda (Milsom) Reid, Class of 1997
Timothy Rezendes, Class of 2005
Carrie (Wall) Richards, Class of 1999
Suzanne Richards-Coleman, Class of 2011
Shannon Rivera, Class of 2008
Tina M. (Dischinger) Rothfuss, Class of 2005
Kristin Sampson, Class of 1999
Jennifer Sanborn, Class of 1994
Amie Sanders, Class of 1999
Brent Satterly, Class of 1993
Nancy Scheuer Hill, Class of 1987, M.A. 2001, Adjunct Professor 2 years
Jennifer Schifano, Class of 2011
Brianne Scott, Class of 2009
Julia Shields Chrestay, Class of 2005, CCGPS 2012
Nicole Shore, Class of 2009
Amanda Shumbusho, Class of 2014
Rev. Carole Simpkins Boutwell, Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 1980,
mother of an EU graduate
Amber Smith, Class of 2005
David J. Spiegel, Sr., Eastern Baptist Seminary- Class of 1999
Duane Steiner, Class of 1992
Kaity (Best) Stuckert, Class of 2010
Marijke Sütter, Class of 2004
Jeremy Sutton, Class of 2013
Anna Sweeny, Class of 2005
Amy Tapper Crawford, Class of 2004
J. Mark Tebben, Transferred
Laura Temons, Class of 2013
Arden Thomas, Class of 1991
Jeff Thomas, Class of 1994
Thomas Tijerina, Class of 2014
Yolanda Turner, Professor of Psychology
Nate Tracy, Transferred
Sabrina Valente, Class of 2006
Colleen Valentine, Class of 2007
Sarah Vanacore, Class of 2006
Julie M. Van Dusen, Class of 2005
Sandra Waldee-Warden, Class of 1990
Jim Warren, Class of 1985
Hans Weitzel, Class of 2013
Daniel Wilcox, Class of 1996
Laura Williams, Class of 2008
Ian Willison, Class of 2013
Rachel Wilson Fecho, Class of 1996
Elise Yarnell, Class of 2011
Amy Yoder McGloughlin, Class of 1994
Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Organizational Supporter

UPDATE:  Dr. Campolo has responded!  Read his response here.  (But make sure you add your name as a co-signor, too!)

8 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Dr. Tony Campolo

  1. I graduated from Eastern in 2010 with a degree in Sociology. I fully support this and how soon it happens will have a large impact on how I support the school in the future. This needs to happen in the same way that prejudice against interracial couples needed to end.

    -Michael Ozaki

  2. Regardless of any Christian’s opinion of homosexuality, all followers of Christ can agree to that nobody should be harassed or attacked for Any reason.
    I don’t suppose a policy against discrimination is too much to ask from any minority group.

  3. There are no red letters of prohibition or admonishment . Please support the right as you always have.

  4. Tony — You and Peggy (one of my hamburger buddies at EC ConnECtion) have been staunch allies of gays and lesbians all across the world. I have been big a big admirer of you both for many years (decades actually). I constantly hear stories of the positive role model you have been in helping enable others inside and outside the church. That support has enabled us all to be more honest and integrous regarding the role of individuals and religious institutions in standing up for a positive biblical model of support and inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians into the broader community and institutions of the church.

    You have taken that message around the world. I see very positive results in my own friends from the support you have given us all. But, now it is time to take that support and help underpin your own community right there at Eastern. I urge you, Peggy and others at Eastern to unconditionally love your GLBT sons and daughters and brothers and sisters at Eastern in a tangible way. Please help by showing proactive support of the gay and lesbian students, alumni and faculty at Eastern. Help make university a safe space for all the community at Eastern, including sexual minorities, to learn and grow to maturity in Christ and with all the gifts God has bestowed upon each of them.

    Be well. Be blessed.

    Henry S. Juhala
    Belleville, IL

  5. Pingback: A Reply From Dr. Tony Campolo | OneEastern