Phil Dosa was eager to meet the visiting Equality Riders as he walked to the Hunter Welcome Center on Friday afternoon. But a university administrator intercepted him at the door and asked if he was on the list.
“They told me since I wasn’t a student in one of two classes, I couldn’t stay,” Dosa said. “I actually showed up and was turned away.”
A couple of Equality Riders – members of Soulforce, a group that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ individuals – were standing near and handed him a flier as he turned to leave. The flier advertised a Saturday-afternoon potluck for ACU students who did not have the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the group.
Dosa, senior communication major from Fort Hood, was determined to go. He counseled individuals struggling with same-sex attraction as an intern at CenterPeace and saw the dangers of isolation and rejection.
“Honestly, I thought there was a chance I would be one of five [at the picnic],” Dosa said. “But I knew that no matter what, I wanted them to know they weren’t being given the cold shoulder by students.”
More than 20 ACU students joined Dosa for the meal and a bit of fellowship afterward. Rebekah Hernandez, junior psychology major from San Antonio, also received a flier when she was denied participation in the on-campus forum. The meal began at noon, but Hernandez and others stayed until 3:30 p.m. or later.
“Even now I’m getting bombarded with questions like, ‘You talked to Soulforce? What are they all about?’ I wish they could have heard for themselves,” Hernandez said. “If [their visit] was more public, more students could have had their questions answered.”
Ryan Martin, senior marketing major from Allen, went “because Jesus loves them, and I want to love them the same.” Martin did not know of Soulforce’s planned visit until Thursday. Although he was disappointed by the closed forum, Martin let nothing stop him.
“The Lord used the situation as it was to bless Soulforce. He uses all things together,” Martin said. “Whether it was a good or bad decision to close the forum, God used it and it was really good.”