Letters to the Editor: Readers’ responses to gay-climate report

Congratulations on your thorough and insightful coverage of LGBTQ matters on both Rider campuses in the Feb. 22 issue of The Rider News. The combination of history, interviews, survey and individual profiles helped to raise awareness of issues close to the hearts of many of us and to celebrate how far Rider, like much of America, has come since the bad old, closeted days.
We old-timers remember Dr. Gerald Klein’s 1990s leadership in providing support for LGBTQ individuals through RiderFLAG. At that time, many of us on the faculty and staff identified ourselves with stickers on our office doors as “gay-friendly” for students who wished confidential support. As your heartening survey results indicate, the great majority of responding faculty stand ready today to lend sympathetic support to those still in the closet or questioning. And, happily, among the present generation of students of all orientations, acceptance of the aims of Spectrum Pride is strong.
-Katharine T. Hoff
Professor Emerita of English and American Studies
I want to congratulate you for The Rider News’ comprehensive coverage of the campus environment for LGBTQ at Rider. As I taught the Race, Class and Gender course more than 10 years ago, I became aware of how difficult it was for Rider students to become openly gay/lesbian on campus. Some progress was achieved with the starting of RiderFLAG in 1996. More progress has been achieved today thanks to the efforts of the Spectrum Pride Alliance and recent changes in U.S. culture that point to a greater respect and tolerance for sexual orientation.
How much more progress is necessary? We need to create an environment at Rider where people are not judged by their sexual orientation, but by the content of their character. We need to create a campus environment where LGBTQ students can be open about their sexual orientation as heterosexuals are, without fear of verbal violence. But that is not enough. We need a campus community that supports equal rights in society for LGBTQ persons as it does for heterosexual people. Until we recognize and support the full humanity of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, we cannot be fully human ourselves.
-Dr. Sigfredo Hernandez
Associate professor of marketing

Congratulations on an absolutely great job of covering Rider and the issue of sexual orientation. All the pieces were well written, highly informative and valuable for our campuses.
I especially liked how Katie Zeck and the staff wove together, in the piece that mentions me and in the other pieces, campus history and the contributions of so many — Mike Rutkowski, faculty, Spectrum Pride Alliance’s president, alums and students. It is masterful; the staff is excellent at its craft. The writing that mentions me is entirely accurate and of course, I’m happy about that, too.
-Dr. Gerald Klein
Professor of organizational behavior and management

Please accept my thanks and congratulations on a great series of articles on the LGBTQ environment here at Rider in the most recent issue of The Rider News. They covered many aspects of life here on campus, not just whether or not a person was comfortable here or not. My sincere appreciation is extended to The Rider News staff.
-Michael J. Rutkowski
Grants Manager

Printed in the 3/1/13 edition.

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