Apology: As USU students we should feel safe to disagree in class, right?  

Letter to editor

Dear readers,

I want to sincerely apologize for the way my article portrayed my feelings about the LGBTQA community. My intention was to say that no matter what, you should stand up for what you believe in. I do not hate those who are part of the LGBTQA community. I love them as much as I love the others around me in my class and I do believe that it is good and right to seek to understand their point of view. In the article, I was trying to distinguish that many in the classroom didn’t agree with what was being taught. I was NOT saying that they disagreed with trying to learn how to be kind and accepting of those within the LGBTQA community. Those who left did not find what was being said in line with their personal beliefs so they opted to not participate in the coming out activity that was encouraged by the representative of the LGBTQA representative in my class that day. I personally felt slightly ostracized when I did not want to participate in the activity and I saw many others feel uncomfortable as well but not do anything. Again, my purpose was to encourage all to speak up for what they feel is right and true and that no one should feel that “palpable peer pressure” that I and many others did that day. Again, my deepest apologies.

Sincerely, Chelsea Heaton

There are 5 comments

Add yours
  1. Brittney Mattison

    As I’ve heard from others, that peer pressure was exactly what you were supposed to feel, to learn empathy for your LGBT classmates who feel it CONSTANTLY. In short, the presentation did its job and your voice would have been heard and welcomed had you spoken up. I’m sure they would have taken your questions, but you were too afraid to ask.

    Your intentions do not match what was said in your letter. At all. I appreciate the attempt to apologize, but you’ve got to clean the mess up. Maybe get some Ally training, or find an LGBT coordinator and, I don’t know, SPEAK UP. And next time applaud the LGBT presenter for SPEAKING UP as you and the students who left were too afraid to do. I mean maybe the students who left went to the representative later to ask questions, and that’s fine. I don’t think you’ve done that, yet, and if you’re not interested . . . then yeah, you’re intolerant. Or maybe you don’t have time in your life to open your horizons that way. That’s okay, but don’t pretend to know about something you don’t have time to learn about.

  2. Heather McBride

    I think you can suffer through the opportunity to learn about us LGBT people so you can at least put faces to us when we’re disowned, kicked out, or outright murdered by our families. You’re uncomfortable? Too bad, friend, we’re surrounded every day by people who think we’d be better off dead. Imagine not knowing if the person next to you would just as soon poison you as look at you. My father would rather see me dead than have a gay daughter. Take some time and look at yourself in the mirror, because being complicit in hate is no better than those who actively work to destroy us.

  3. Kayla

    Again Chelsea….. you cannot speak in behalf any other people in regards to how they felt! You are not a mind reader, and regardless of how many people pointed out your flawed assumptions, you haven’t seemed to get it yet. But your attempt to dig yourself out of this hole was amusing.
    I’m just going to refer back to my comment on the original submission. If you felt peer pressure about listening to something that you had a moral problem with, send it in an email to your institute class and you guys can discuss standing up for your personal beliefs in there. But all you have demonstrated in this entire fiasco is that you have some personal work to do in learning how to not make assumptions into other people’s lives, their motivations, what they think, and why thy act the way they do.
    Stop using your classmates as a reason to try and justify your blatant disrespect. If you have a problem with it and it bugs you that bad, suck it up and either move on or get out. You’re in an independent environment so be an independent individual and make decisions based on your own personal perception of how an experience is affecting you. Your classmates are not your problem. And you are making assumptions about them. Maybe next time, before you write a letter followed by a contradictory apology letter about how you want to speak up for everyone else when you don’t even know what they were thinking, you might try asking them first? (And I mean a large population of the class, not just the few people you sit by). Then you might begin to see how in your head you have been about this entire ordeal.

  4. Samuel

    No need to apologize Chelsea. Your attempt shows you only seek to justice your actions and not challenge your preconceived notions. I don’t know you nor do I intend to but next time try to be more compassionate to others. It was not to long ago when Mormons were persecuted for being “different”.

  5. Joel

    And that, I believe, is how the future non-apologizers of the world, those who hold high ranking government positions or a harmful voice in the media, start their journey through life.
    They say something incredibly insensitive justified on dubious morals. They get a huge backslash. Someone reprimands them (maybe a parent company or group worried about public image). They try to establish that the hateful words used were not meant to be hateful. We are left with the bitter taste of not only being told that after so long of being oppressed we should continue to be oppressed, but also that we were so dumb we couldn’t understand the supposed intent of the original declaration.
    Repeat. Ad. Nauseum.

    I think you should try the Interfaith activities on campus. USU will be the host of a huge event on April 21-22 that would help anyone understand different points of view and how to express them without being offensive, even while holding onto your own moral values. I HOPE that The Statesman, and the school itself, will provide a welcoming and
    I think you should try the Ally training, as someone said above.
    I think that you should try delving into the humanities a little bit, maybe take a class on Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, or one of those fields that people tend to deride, but that can change you and make you a better person, because you probably need to become a better person. And I do use the word “better” with full knowledge of its subjectivity, its several different meanings, and how it changes across time, space, and social realities. I use the word “better” knowing may not be universal, but I use the term knowing what it can mean in this situation, and knowing that it implies you are a bad person right now. I say this not because I truly believe you are a bad person, I believe there is “good” within all of us, but because I want to show you that if someone who has never published a piece anywhere outside of twitter is so aware of these nuances, then maybe you should be too. In my apology to you about this paragraph I may write something like “I meant that there is always room for improvement, not that you were fundamentally evil.”

    [And I hesitated to be so blunt as to tell you what you should or should not do, as it is not my place to judge others, but then I remember the original piece, and then this amazing writing, and decided I had gained the right to express myself in those terms just by reading the way you expressed yourself in those places.]

    Perhaps I should try to get a job in The Statesman. I don’t think this would have ever happened to me, even if I had to talk about groups that I believe to be fundamentally wrong. You know, like I believe you are.

    And if you are ever on the verge of writing a piece, be it for The Statesman or The New York Times, I hope you do not shelter yourself inside your own beliefs instead of trying to talk to all sides before publishing words that are so misguided. Had you done any type of real journalistic analysis, your tone would have been different and you would have offended much less people, even if by some sort of magic you still decide not to change the way you think. That way you avoid having to publish an embarrassing non-apology where you have to so sadly try to change the obvious meaning of your words.

    There are 16 year olds on campus that read your words and feel threatened and hurt. There are kids that feel they can’t fit in this world because when someone disagrees with them, they do it the way you did it. And when someone does stand up for them and demands a change, people like you treat them like they do not understand your very good intentions.

    I mean, you published a long and strong call to arms for those like you to storm out of classrooms and declare they do not agree because you had to sit through one hour of a class with your fellow students. Those who you take classes with, work with, are sons and daughters of people, are brothers and sisters of people, those who are people. Imagine how it would feel if it wasn’t just one hour of one class, but a lifetime of repression by people like you.

    You know, as someone who writes, you must understand the real power of words, and the impact that using them in a way or another can have. It is so insulting that you have to go and pretend like you didn’t know the way words were organized in your text, and the way you picked them out of the English vocabulary with such a strong intent. That is why I find it preposterous that you write “Sincerely” on your closing, even when you are so obviously not sincere.

    I can’t believe you decide to forfeit your ability to learn new things, just to hold on your beliefs. Isn’t higher education meant to enlighten and challenge? Is it true that you speak like this of every aspect of every class that you disagree with? It would seem weird to me that you don’t encounter multiple instances like this through your journey in this institution.

    I have learned so much by sitting through the classes I disagree with. From Economics to Religious Studies, I have learned so much from the other side. And I invite you to do the same. It is not about indoctrination, is about just looking across the schism and seeing that there exists another reality that you may be unaware of. There is no point in living if you cannot learn from life. Even if you live for this Earth and nothing more, knowledge will eventually be useful to you.

Post a new comment