Chapter 15 of Dwelling in the Promised Land as a Stranger shifts the focus from practices and policies at BYU to Utah Valley University. BYU isn’t the only Utah Valley institution with troubles related to Mormon disrespect for non-heterosexuals. In a speech for the arch-conservative Sutherland Institute, UVU President Matt Holland advocated continued opposition to marriage equality. In response, I published the op-ed at the center of this chapter in the UVU student newspaper. The piece ends with this paragraph:
Our president’s history of opposition to marriage equality and now his disrespectful speech denigrating “cavalier” arguments made “in the name of equality” by “freewheeling” and “so-called consenting adults” make our collective work devoted to diverse and inclusive education at Utah Valley University more difficult than he can imagine.
Professor of Integrated Studies, Philosophy and Humanities
Matt Holland never responded to this letter. When students affiliated with UVU LGBTQ+ Student Services asked to speak with him, he make them wait for weeks for an appointment and sent instructions that the discussion was not to be about his speech at the Sutherland Institute. So they talked, the students reported, about where they were from and what their majors were and where they had served LDS missions.
Earlier in his presidency, Matt had signed on, as President of UVU, to an amicus brief against marriage equality as the Supreme Court considered the case. I was proud to be among a host of UVU faculty and staff who published this letter in the Salt Lake Tribune: