Open Letter to the Leadership of the African Leadership University.
Dear Fred and Team,
This is a response to not just the LGBTQIA+ Crucial Conversations week but a response to the overall experience of being Queer in this institution. My Queer identity is unsafe in this place. I am unsafe because this institution has turned a blind eye on the diverse backgrounds of our student population. The lack of proactivity from this institution has placed the burden on myself to defend my Queer identity and explain why certain statements cannot be said because they are violent to my identity. The university is portraying itself as a neutral organization which allows for all views to be expressed in this space without any clear responses for those problematic views expressed. This stance encourages students to choose to remain ignorant and feel that sticking to their homophobic views is an acceptable position . This institution has made an assumption that a student coming from a homophobic country, family and church will automatically find it easy to exist with an openly proud gay student. This institution has turned a blind eye to the fact that I too am coming from a society and space where I am vulnerable to daily insults and discrimination hence in this space the least that my identity seeks is protection. You have failed us, we are at a point where we need to be extra-courageous to walk out of our rooms because we are seen as not “normal” to others.
I challenge the leadership of this university to take a clear radical stance on this matter. You are in a position of privilege as the first African continental university, your views and ideologies will travel across this continent. Part of leadership is to take bold and brave decisions, we have done that well in challenging ways of learning. A clear and radical stance of where the management of this university stands will guide the student’s mindsets and attitudes towards this issue. If the South African government had not taken a clear and brave stance against homophobia and discrimination through our constitution, South Africa would not be where it is today. I am pushing the challenge to the leadership of ALU to openly and publicly state that any student and staff who refuses to have their homophobic views challenged is not line with the culture, values and purpose of this university. Those who are unable to be inline with these core elements have no space in this institution.
On behalf of the Queer students and staff of this institution I am committed to fighting and push for making this space safer for all. It is a fight that I am willing to take against the university itself or the individuals who are perpetuating these violent opinions.
Yours in Activism,