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Wheaton College Ranking as Least Gay-Friendly Spurs Alumni Response

OneWheaton, an organization comprised of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered alumni of Wheaton College, responds to The Princeton Review's ranking of Wheaton College as the least tolerant college for gays and lesbians.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that The Princeton Review ranked Wheaton College as the nation's least tolerant college for gays and lesbians. 

David Soto, college ratings director for The Princeton Review, told the Tribune that the ranking is based on an 80-question survey sent to more than 122,000 students across the nation with topics including social scene, peers, campus and community.

The ranking spurred , an organization of gay Wheaton College alumni into action. OneWheaton spokeswoman Kristen Winn wrote in a press release Wednesday that the ranking comes despite a "growing number of the school's alumni who are coming out of the closet and speaking up." 

The college issued a statement this week responding to the rankings, "Wheaton College strives to treat all students with respect. As part of our voluntary community, students, faculty and staff sign a Community Covenant" which is based on and shaped by a traditional understanding of the comprehensive moral teachings of the Bible, including the Bible's teaching on sexual morality."

The Covenant includes a reading from the Bible that says, "...Scripture condemns... sexual immorality, such as the use of pornography, premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman.

"...While some may interpret this stance as hostility to the LGBTQ community, our aim is to stand respectfully and graciously for biblical truth."

Jessica Friesen, a 2008 graduate of Wheaton College, said that it's "sad," that Wheaton College is perceived as the worst college for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) students. "We get positive emails almost everyday from people thanking and encouraging us for the actions we're taking (with OneWheaton)."

OneWheaton, formed in April, offers support and acceptance for LGBTQ students as an alternative to the school's position that homosexual behavior is a sin. Organizers are now preparing for the new school year with plans to do regular outreach to students, including a major event during the college's homecoming weekend in October, according to Winn.

Adam Hibma, OneWheaton outreach coordinator, said he hopes the recent ranking encourages Wheaton College students to engage with OneWheaton and find meaningful ways to support their LBGT peers. "It's clear from the responses we've gotten that many people, students especially, are hungry to move forward," Hibma said.

Anthony Trendl August 04, 2011 at 08:32 PM
I did graduate work at Wheaton College. Not only were the school's academic standards much higher than where I did undergrad (Illinois State), but that so many students were far more open-minded than the surveys I had read then implied. So many alumni are working across the world to fight hunger, AIDS, homeless, illiteracy, and beyond. Some do with great sacrifice, under the radar of accolades, missing out on the ease of suburban living. And, many of those alumni who work in more 'regular' jobs give greatly to support their fellow grads. OneWheaton's decision to bait the media with the results of a Princeton Review report is manipulative. Their goal is clear, but it is not compatible with Wheaton College's mission. Yet, as a matter of dialogue, the school has been respectful. OneWheaton continues to proselytize its views, while trying to convert Wheaton College to change theirs. What Wheaton College's views are have always been open. No student studies there unaware, or forced, to believe. They choose to attend, choosing over hundreds of others. Anyone accepted there will have a solid GPA and various test scores; many could attend any other college in the country. Any alumni knows this, including every supporter of OneWheaton. We live in a country respecting people with faiths of many varieties. We allow that freedom to be expressed in where we worship, where we attend school, and how we live daily. Wouldn't it be great if OneWheaton were so tolerant?
Ray Smith August 04, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Totally overlooked in the media reports and reader comments is the fact that students from only 376 institutions were allowed to be polled and, without doubt, dozens of Christian/evangelical schools with Standards of Faith similiar to Wheaton's were thereby excluded. You could make the case that ALL the rankings--positive as well as negative--are skewed, certainly the three on sobriety, religiousity and 'friendliness' to gays as far as they pertain to Wheaton. As one who is on campus every week in some capacity and who has lived within minutes of the school for 61 years, the ranking on Food however is--as my British friends would say--"spot on." It's teriffic...as is the school for the overwhelming majority of its 46,000 alumni.
Jim McMahon August 04, 2011 at 10:17 PM
Has there been any discrimination or hates crimes against gay people at Wheaton college? Many schools of this size have had issues, just curious.
Clark Kent August 05, 2011 at 11:55 AM
INDOCTRINATION CAMPS?????? What's this..."education?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCTKfdewOaU . One can only imagine what other "freedoms" you would allow at schools of those Christian believers you want to suppress. Some have claimed that arrogant stupidity is sinful, too! Imagine! This could be some California high school song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZr0_ic1304 . Is Illinois next? Is this a harbinger of future campus life under the Stroup Administration? http://www.folsomstreetevents.org/fair-info.php (This is in Nancy Pelosi's Congressional District. No surprise here!)
Anthony Trendl August 11, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Brian, you might enjoy this news: Wheaton College Students' Documentary Nominated for Philanthropic Award http://wheaton.patch.com/articles/wheaton-college-students-documentary-nominated-for-philanthropic-award "Last spring, four Wheaton College students traveled to Honduras to trace their coffee from crop to cup. During the trip, which the students took in partnership with Growers First Coffee, they met the small-plot farmers who produce coffee in ways that improve the farmers’ lives and communities."

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