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It’s no secret that Catholic institutions have a reputation for being against same-sex relationships. Students at EC, however, are not. Instead, they are celebrating diversity through clubs like OUTspoken.
“They, like, love us here,” said Shauni Ponton ’15, who is OUTspoken’s president.
The club was born out of an idea between Ponton and Kayla Quigley ’14, after several incidents of hate crimes in the St. Ann’s Residence Hall last year, like the words “F*** fags” on the walls. Ponton especially was inspired to take action and change opinions.
“My perspective, I guess, was to show students who identify LGBTQ that God really does love them and we’re not going to hell as the Bible and other people might say… We didn’t have a presence on campus so I wanted to develop that as well,” said Ponton.
In order to accomplish this, OUTspoken will be having meetings, but it won’t be a boring old meeting that other clubs might have. Instead, their meetings will be known as “staycations” and will be a place where students can talk and interact that is a safe place for those that support the club, also known as Allies. And so far, their efforts have been noticed by other students on campus.
“I was really interested because Shauni started talking to me about how they wanted to revamp the club and make it’s presence back and known on campus. I was just like let me know how I can help,” said Secretary Akyanna Smith ’15.
OUTspoken will have their first “staycation” tonight at 7pm in the Maureen Murphy Wilkins Atrium and will continue to happen throughout the rest of semester. The week of most importance for the club will be April 15-19, also known as Out and Proud Week.