Wartburg moving beyond discrimination on campus - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wartburg moving beyond discrimination on campus


by Jenn Jarvis

WAVERLY (KWWL) -- Incidents on the Wartburg College campus last year and even last month have targeted gay members of the community. And during Coming Out Week, the campus is continuing its education efforts.

Last October the starting quarterback for the Wartburg football team, Nick Yordi, was charged with disorderly conduct for yelling homosexual slurs at another student. While he was found not guilty in court, Yordi did admit what he yelled was offensive and wrote a letter of apology.

And, just last month, an offensive term was scratched onto the car of a Wartburg staff member.

Faculty and staff at Wartburg have tried to use these events as teachable moments and say the diversity of opinion and the tight knit community actually fosters an open discussion LGBT issues. But, like all colleges, Wartburg is a work in progress.

For Alliance, the LGBT group at Wartburg, Coming Out Week is a chance to educate and share.

"Be able to offer our experiences so that maybe it will help someone else," Alliance president Stephen Huff said.

Huff says acts of discrimination on campus are unusual and he feels accepted by the college community.

"Those are pretty much just acts of individuals and I think the overall climate on Wartburg is great," Huff said.

But as a religious institution, campus pastor Larry Trachte says Wartburg is different from other colleges.

"We are a place that intentionally discusses values whereas if you go up to a university, one of the state universities, the goal there is education within a discipline," Trachte said.

In its diversity statement Wartburg says it is commited to protecting the interest of all its students, regardless of sexual orientation. And the school uses negative incidents as a learning opportunity for its students.

"It's an opportunity an education opportunity to help people move beyond and through that," Trachte said.

And Alliance is expanding its educational efforts beyond Coming Out Week.

"This year we're going to try to do more just throughout the year to make it more of a continuous thing," Huff said.

According to school administrators, when there is some type of discriminatory action, students are normally not removed from campus.
Instead they go through some type of educational program to keep the problem from happening again. School officials also say the type of disciplinary action depends on the severity of the situation.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis


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