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Editorial: Two trustees, students speak in support of LGBT community. Why no one else?

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A month after Grand Rapids Community College Board Trustee Richard Ryskamp suggested at the February board meeting that the college ought to invite a speaker who has “tried being gay but now regrets that path,” two board members have spoken against his words.

Trustee Terri Handlin at the March board meeting and Trustee Ellen James at the March board retreat spoke in support of the LGBT community.

It is refreshing the two spoke, though Ryskamp’s words lingered for a month, but why are they the only two who said anything?

It’s a small number of students leading the rebuttal against Ryskamp’s words.

There are openly gay faculty members on this campus. Rather than stepping up and refuting the words that have offended them, why are they letting students take charge while they silently support? They work here as teachers, no matter what their roles, and are perhaps role models to some. This could really be a teachable moment.

It is hard to believe that a faculty member defending his or her own reality or that of a loved one would not be largely supported. It’s 2013.

Let’s not burn the school down, but let’s be a little less hesitant to speak up when someone in such a prominent role says something so insensitive relating to the campus community he’s representing.

This was updated April 3 to correct a misquote in the first paragraph. The word “decision” was mistakenly used instead of the word “path.”