For the last four years, Seattle Pacific youth group Haven has petitioned campus administrators for the right to club status. Why such a protracted fight? Because Haven is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (GLBTQ), and the Christian university in Queen Anne is more than a little uncomfortable with that acronym.
Since Haven's founding in 2007, the university has been consistent in its squeamishness, citing the group's statement of purpose--which had the gall to suggest that Haven leaders did not fully embrace the university's faith-based stance on human sexuality--as its main reason not to grant club status.
Then in late January of this year, school newspaper The Falcon reported that Seattle Pacific had slashed the few rights it had already granted Haven. The group was no longer allowed to reserve private spaces for meetings, and associate vice president of academic affairs Jeff Jordan declared that discussion on the possibility of club status was over.
What followed was an uproar of condemnation from Haven, some Seattle Pacific students, faculty, and alumni, along with coverage both local and national. Letters were written, petitions signed, and awareness raised. And it looks like, as a result, a compromise has been reached.
At a meeting last Thursday night, Seattle Pacific returned to Haven its right to reserve meeting space, along with a few additional concessions, including the ability to advertise on campus.
But Haven Leader Joy Bethune says she still has mixed feelings about the agreement. Happy to finally be recognized, Bethune nonetheless says that Haven doesn't yet have what it wants: It's still not a club, but rather a separate but unequal group.