The Saint Anselm College Statement on Inclusiveness, Statement on Inclusiveness and Sexual Orientation and Nondiscrimination Policy all highlight the institution's commitment to diversity and inclusion. However, transforming an institution requires more than words, good will, and good intentions.
The President's Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness is a dedicated group of faculty, staff and students who aid the Saint Anselm community in outlining and achieving its strategic, diversity goals. Beyond this committee, people across the college have been diligently working to support inclusive efforts. The addition of an inclusive component to the New Student Orientation Program, creation of a Sexual Orientation Task Force and assessment initiatives, such as the Campus Climate Survey, are important milestones on this journey.
In order to realize our mission as a Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college, Saint Anselm College is committed to sustaining an intentionally inclusive environment that will benefit all constituencies. In particular, the college is committed to providing students with the richest opportunities to learn, both in the classroom and within the environment of the college community as a whole.
We accomplish this, in part, by fostering understanding, experience, and appreciation of the world's diversity through the academic curriculum, with its spirit of scholarly inquiry and respectful discourse; through a variety of service, co-curricular, religious, and academic activities and support mechanisms; and through the different perspectives and backgrounds of the members of our community.
Committed to our Catholic mission, Saint Anselm College aspires to bring together a faculty, staff, and student body that enhances this educational endeavor with diverse scholarly interests, ideas, beliefs, experience, talents, and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
"All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say 'I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.'"
-Rule of Benedict 53:1; cf. Matthew 25:35
As a Catholic and Benedictine institution of higher learning, Saint Anselm College implements St. Benedict's teaching by welcoming and respecting all persons. All Catholic teaching reinforces the need to acknowledge the fundamental dignity of all persons as created in the image and likeness of God. (1) All persons are to be welcomed, respected, appreciated, and loved: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (2) Therefore the College presents and seeks to embody the teaching of Jesus Christ, fostering Christian and Catholic standards of value and conduct among all its members.
As the seminal teaching on this topic found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church so clearly states, persons with homosexual orientation "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." (3) Saint Anselm College therefore condemns any and all direct or indirect harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any person in regards to sexual orientation. Such homophobic behavior is hateful, disgraceful, and a violation of human dignity. Furthermore, Catholic moral teaching clearly states that all persons, of any sexual orientation, are called to lives of chastity in accord with their vocation and state in life. (4) Neglect or failure to do so is likewise harmful to human dignity.
Since the Church's clear moral teaching has consistently stated that the only morally acceptable sexual activity is between a man and a woman within the context of marriage, (5) some may wonder whether persons with homosexual orientation are in some way an exception to teachings of love and respect. They are not.
The College upholds this twofold teaching of the Church with clarity and compassion. However, clarity is not to be confused with or result in actions that exhibit self-righteousness, deliberate offensiveness, or condemnation of anyone; nor is compassion to be confused with or result in actions that are condoning or endorsing morally wrong behavior or activities.
Encouraging all to heed the universal call to holiness, (6) Saint Anselm College speaks the hope-filled message of the gospel, wherein the same God who created all people seeks to redeem all people. (7) Saint Anselm College inspires its members to live in accord with this teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Rule of Saint Benedict, and thus seeks to establish a community of welcome, respect, inclusion, and appreciation for all.
1. Cf. Genesis 1:26-27.
2. The Gospel According to Matthew, 7:12; The Gospel According to Luke 6:31.
3. Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2358.
4. Pastoral Letter, par. 12.
5. "It is only in the marital relationship [between a man and a woman] that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good." Pastoral Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On The Pastoral Care Of Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1October 1986, par. 7.
6. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter 5.
7. Cf. 1 Timothy 2:5.