A Letter From an Alumni of Oral Roberts University (Number 2)

I saw your website while I was browsing through the internet and found the gay word next to OBU and about fell over! I have mixed emotions about OBU, but thought I’d share my experiences with you and maybe it will help students that are currently attending OBU. I was awarded an athletic scholarship in Volleyball and Fastpitch Softball to OBU in 1985. I knew before I ever stepped foot on the OBU campus that I was a lesbian, but I immediately found out that being ‘open’ and ‘vocal’ about my orientation would mean ‘losing my scholarship’ and being expelled. So I quickly discovered the ‘UNDERGROUND’ gay community at OBU and we basically thrived and lived with the support of our vast closeted community on campus.

While attending college there from 1985 – 1989 I was repeatedly harassed and questioned about my sexual preference. I also learned to put an additional lock INSIDE my dorm room – or it was common to get a ‘surprise’ visit from the RA or Dorm Directory. There goal was to catch me sleeping in a twin bed with another woman. While playing sports (probably 85% of the women athletes on the squad were gay.) We were routinely harassed and forcefully told that any alternative lifestyle would not be tolerated.

It all finally came to a head my Junior year at OBU (1989). Several of my teammates and I were pulled into my coaches office and questioned about our sexual preference and then we were eventually called into our Athletic Director’s office. Most of the people on my team were honest and ‘came out.’ That was in April and I found out about 3 weeks later that they were dissolving the Volleyball program at OBU and then I found out my scholarship had been terminated. I know without a doubt my scholarship and several other teammates scholarships were dissolved because of our sexual preference.

It all worked out better for me in the end – I ended up transferring to the University of Central State and finished my education at that state school. But I left OBU with a bad taste in my mouth because their staff and policies are so discriminative. I can’t see their policies ever changing but I hope those current ‘gay’ students there can complete their studies without being treated differently. OBU was probably the most bigoted place I ever encountered but it taught me a great deal about being proud and open.

I believe your goals and agenda are wonderful. I think those ‘anti-gay’ policies should be challenged. I appreciate your efforts and the opportunity to share my story with you and your readers.

Andrea Simon