Marriage Equality? UVU President Says NO

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.

Scott Abbott

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:

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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