Open Letter to Tony Campolo & Response

UPDATE 04/23/14: Below is an open email to Dr. Tony Campolo. We currently have 204 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
Tom Apostolacus, Class of 2016
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
Katie Booth, Transferred
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
Joy (Poelma) Bronkhorst, Class of 1998
Sara (Becker) Bruning, Class of 2004
Thomas Butler, Exchange student from New Zealand
Ryan Byrne, Class of 2012
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
Jason Dorrell, Class of 2009
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
Ben Hackett, Class of 2013
Brianna Hall, Class of 2012
Mark Hallen, Director of Theatre
Michelle Harper Brix, Class of 1998
Rebekah Henson, Class of 2008
Rebecca Herold, Class of 2015
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
Joshua Ireland, Class of 2011
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
Michelle Katzman, Class of 2010
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
Elizabeth Lashley Harris, Class of 1996
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
Jess Martin, Class of 2014
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
Jeff McMenamin, Class of 2014
Typhany Mcneill-Sellers, Class of 2008
Jeff Miller, Class of 2003
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
Michael Stevenson, Class of 2014
Kaity (Best) Stuckert, Class of 2010
Marijke Sütter, Class of 2004
Andrea Sullivan-Burbage, Class of 1990
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
Tessa (Bailey) Tokke, Transferred
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
Stephen Weightman, Class of 1965
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

Dr. Campolo’s Response

April 26, 2013

I am responding to the open letter addressed to me from OneEastern, a group of Eastern University alumni, regarding the hopes and fears of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people who attend Eastern University, or will be attending the university in the future.

Any form of discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation is unacceptable to me, especially at Eastern, the school I have loved, and with which I have been proud to be associated since my own days as a student here more than 50 years ago. I want Eastern to be a place where a student, staff member, or faculty member can be open about his or her sexual identity without fear of recrimination. Prejudices will always exist, but discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should not be allowed among Christians, and certainly not on the campus of any Christian college or university.

I fully understand that Eastern has those in its community who may not be in sympathy with such an anti-discrimination policy. I also am painfully aware that such a public declaration on the part of the administration might seriously impact the fundraising capacity of the Development Office and also the work of the Admissions Office. Nevertheless, I believe a commitment to Christ-like justice requires careful consideration as to what the official policies of our school should be.

I would expect GLBT students, staff members, and faculty members to abide by the standards which Eastern has already set and expects to be observed within the confines of the university campus. Being within the Evangelical tradition, our school holds to a policy of opposing certain forms of erotic behavior outside of the confines of marriage as defined by the student handbook.

As you know from my writing and speaking, gay marriage does not fit within my personal understanding of Scripture and Church tradition. However, I do not consider gay marriage to be a defining issue that should bar those in such relationships from being fully accepted members of any Christian body; any more than I would bar persons who are divorced and remarried from such acceptance.

I want to emphasize that these are my views and do not represent the stated policies of Eastern University, and it should also be noted that I am no longer a regularly active member of the University teaching staff.

My prayers are with those in the OneEastern movement, and with all the students, staff and faculty members, and others who love Eastern, who are struggling over this important matter.

Tony Campolo


3 thoughts on “Open Letter to Tony Campolo & Response

  1. In the 1950s, I was a student at Eastern Baptist Seminary. I was aware at that time that there were both students and faculty who were GLBT. We simply aided their sojourn “in the closet”. It is past time to face the issue and be an open, loving community. I commend those who are bringing this to an intentional action.

  2. Please add me to the petition I’m Katie Booth I didn’t graduate from Eastern but I spent 3 semesters there so I guess you could put me in from 2007-2009