Letter: If you’re leaving BYU to escape religious trauma, do not go to UVU

In this Nov. 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah Valley University is not a safe place for LGBTQ students. Take it from me, the token queer Chicano student in the president’s office.

Like many of my peers, I transferred from Brigham Young University because I believed in UVU’s mission: Exceptional Care, Exceptional Accountability, Exceptional Results.

I won’t say that the pain and discomfort I experienced at UVU has been equal to the pain and institutional harm inflicted at BYU, but you have to keep in mind that we’re only a short drive from the Lord’s University.

It’s not that we don’t deliver results, but at the moment our administration has carelessly disregarded their commitment to both care and accountability.

When Wendy Watson-Nelson was selected as this year’s commencement speaker, I thought to myself “you have to be kidding me. My graduation is going to be a drive-thru General Conference session.”

Our leaders’ commitment to diversity is performative at best, and sadly eclipses the work of many campus stakeholders in shaping our community to be a welcoming, safe environment. The truth of the matter is the LDS prophet’s wife comes as the fourth high-profile LDS speaker in the last six years. We’ve heard from Mitt Romney, Henry B. Eyring, Gail Miller and now Wendy Watson-Nelson. Does anybody else see a pattern here?

My advice: If you’re leaving BYU to escape religious trauma, do not go to UVU.

I know I am not alone in my sentiments, although many of my fellow students, staff and faculty are not possessed by either the same conviction or carelessness I have in submitting this letter.

Arty Diaz, Murray

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