The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
$25,000 will be donated to the Murray State Office of LGBT Programming in the form of a five-year endowment by alumna Kristie Helms and her wife – an investment not just for financial support, but for hope as well.
No matter the benefactor, a donation of any size by alumni means a great deal to the University and to its students. It’s one of the many examples of how we can continue to make a difference at Murray State after we graduate, and we should see more support like this from alumni in all aspects of the University.
According to the Murray State Alumni Association website, more than 66,000 alumni have the opportunity to show this kind of support.
There are 66,000 people who are supposed to be the most loyal and strongest supporters of Murray State. There are 66,000 people who have the best chance of promoting the University by word-of-mouth advocacy among their respective professional and social networks.
Alumni are who we, as current students of Murray State, look up to as role models.
They come back as speakers, professors and mentors to guide us to success after graduation so we, in turn, can do the same.
We see their names on our academic buildings and second homes and wonder what greatness they achieved to attain that honor.
Whether it be donating $5 or $25,000, attending University events or helping recruit future Racers, Murray State still needs you after you graduate.
Support of any kind for the LGBT community, however, is something the Office of LGBT Programming struggles with gaining and will likely continue to struggle with. Regardless of the good this office does for the University by providing services like the Safe Zone and educational programming, there is a negative stigma with the LGBT community that some people still can’t look past.
If a donation was made to any other organization, those not involved in that organization might not even hear about it. We hear about this donation, though, because of how controversial the particular cause is.
A long-term endowment validates and confirms there is some progress for the efforts of LGBT advocates.
Despite Murray State being located in the “Bible Belt” of Kentucky, there is hope.
There is hope for people who have come out, but feel ostracized. There is hope for people who haven’t come out because they’re afraid.
There is hope for an advocate to speak up and say, “These people are my friends, and there’s nothing wrong with them. I support them and they are no different than you or me,” without fear of backlash.
There is hope that acceptance and awareness will overshadow hatred and ignorance.
This money is a message to the University and to the surrounding western Kentucky community that The Office of LGBT Programming, Alliance and their supporters aren’t going anywhere.
Generous donations like the Kristie Helms and Kathryn Carter Nettles Fund for Excellence and Acceptance and Awareness will see to that.
No matter what you believe, believe this: Murray State and its students need your support after you graduate. How will you contribute?