Editorial: Graduation could do without Kit Bond
Webster University announced this week that former Missouri Republican senator Kit Bond would deliver the commencement address at the 2011 graduation ceremonies for Webster.
Bond, who served two terms as Governor and four as senator, is a staple of Missouri state politics and certainly a prestigious name to advertise the university. Generally, The Journal understands that commencement speakers are often chosen not because of individual politics or personality, but because of fame or name recognition. President Elizabeth Stroble certainly understands the advantage of good press, and Bond’s fame among Missourians is an intelligent advertising method for Webster.
But Bond’s record on issues vital to students and faculty of Webster University does not reflect the philosophy or principles of our institution. Bond has voted repeatedly to reduce or inhibit rights for LGBTQ citizens both statewide and nationwide.
Bond has also voted against the repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell,” and in favor of a constitutional ban of gay marriage. He also voted against a measure protecting sexual orientation from job discrimination.
These are neither the principles nor the message that The Journal or the students of Webster wish to reflect at our graduation ceremonies. Webster has a long tradition of supporting the LGBTQ population. The annual Drag Ball is just one of the events on campus celebrating the diversity and beauty of the LGBTQ community.
The students of Webster University support diversity, fairness, equality and love. The Journal does not believe that Kit Bond’s record of exclusion and discrimination fits the Global Citizenship of Webster University.
A significant portion of Global Citizenship is the notion of inevitable human freedom and equality. Issues like gender neutrality, important to the students of Webster, are lost of the close-minded politics of discrimination that ex-Senator Bond is most familiar with.
The former senator from Missouri does not share the same support for inevitable equality, and therefore does not belong at a ceremony celebrating the success and triumphs of the very students negatively affected by his votes.
A group on Facebook has already formed, urging Webster students to protest the decision to allow Bond to speak. Students have also been encouraged to use Twitter to inform the university, as well Stroble, about their feelings regarding the retired Missouri senator.
The administration must fully explain it’s reasoning on this matter. LGBTQ students have a right to know why the man congratulating them on academic accomplishments also backed legislation prohibiting their marriage in his state.
Kit Bond is not fit for Webster University.