Illinois State University Marketing and Communications continues to review its editorial policies after facing backlash over a controversial letter to the editor published in their April issue.

The letter came in response to an article on couples who met at Illinois State.

The article featured a lesbian couple and was published in the April 2018 issue.
The letter, written by alumnae Linda Jackson, cited religious arguments against gay marriage, as well as a general concern for the state of the country.
“God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman. Anything else is an abomination to the Lord.

"This country is spiraling in the wrong direction because people are living ungodly and going against the Bible,” the letter said.

The controversial letter has led to UMC reviewing future letters to the editor as a whole in the publication. Executive Director of UMC Brian Beam said that over the last 20 years of the magazine, a small group of people have selected and published the letters. He added that they are discussing the relevance of letters to the editor and their inclusion in future publications of the magazine.

“The alumni magazine should not be another example of our polarized culture, but rise above it and be a model for how to discuss differing perspectives,” Beam said. “Obviously, we fell short. We need to do better.”

“Illinois State” is a quarterly magazine for the members of the Illinois State Alumni Association. President Larry Dietz made a statement regarding the letter on April 25.

“It contained language that violated the university’s value of respect and it is in conflict with strides the university has made and continues to make related to our values of diversity and inclusion,” Dietz said in the statement.

The impact was felt not only among alumni, but current students as well.

Some have supported the letter’s publication as a part of free speech and objectivity in the magazine. Beam said the publication seeks alumni feedback, though they are currently devising different ways to receive that feedback and they “deeply regret” the pain that the letter has caused the community. 

“It is one thing to support free speech and an entirely different thing to support hateful speech, and saying that you are disgusted by LGBTQ relationships and calling those relationships abominations is hateful speech,” Patterson said. 

”If the university wishes to continue championing its values of diversity, inclusion, and respect,” she continued, “it cannot do so while giving platform to homophobic voices.” 

Pride at ISU has also published a full statement on the letter on its Facebook page. 

 

ELIZABETH SEILS is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at elseils@ilstu.edu Follow her on Twitter at @SeilsElizabeth 


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