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Major Newspaper Covers Students Attempt to Establish LGBT Support Club at La Sierra University


In an article titled, “La Sierra rejects gay, lesbian club, the Press-Enterprise, a major California newspaper covering Riverside county, published a story on the latest attempt by lesbian and gay students to form an official club at La Sierra University. 

The club, Prism, reapplied for recognition last month, hoping that attitudes of members of the 2,400-student Adventist university’s Student Life Committee have changed, said Prism president Rebecca Kern (pictured).


“It’s also a way for us to say out loud that we’re not going away,” said Kern, 23, a fourth-year student who is lesbian and Adventist.


Prism members are holding their first public event Saturday, Nov. 17, but the mix of workshops and entertainment is taking place at UC Riverside because La Sierra doesn’t permit non-sanctioned clubs to hold events on campus.


Non-approved clubs cannot promote their events on campus with leaflets or postings in university buildings, and they cannot reserve campus meeting rooms.


La Sierra spokesman Larry Becker said organizations viewed as violating Adventist beliefs cannot gain recognition.


“The committee felt that while the university values all students and is against harassment in all forms, this group’s mission does not align with Seventh-day Adventist beliefs on sexuality,” he said. “La Sierra is a Seventh-day Adventist university, so we support the values of the SDA Church. That is why they were turned down.”


La Sierra is one of five of the 13 Adventist universities in North America that has an LGBT club, none of them officially recognized, said Eliel Cruz, president of an organization that represents the groups. Cruz, who attends Andrews University in Michigan, said he’s not aware of a club at Loma Linda University.


“We’re not trying to change theology,” Cruz said. “We are here to ensure all our students feel safe and have a safe place to talk.”

Read the entire article here.

Photograph by Kurt Miller/Press-Enterprise Staff Photographer

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