Members of APU’s unofficial Gay-Straight Alliance club passed out #westandwithadam shirts and held large signs Wednesday morning before and after chapel to declare their support for transgender theology professor Adam Ackley during his last week of teaching.
(See: Theology professor set to leave over transgender identity)
“We were just doing that to show APU that we do not agree with the decisions that are being made right now,” said Haven Co-president Alyson Thatcher. “It’s just to show support for Adam.”
(See: Students on campus respond to transgender theology professor controversy)
Ackley told his students that his last day of teaching will be this Friday, according to those in his class.
Thatcher said the demonstration was a last-minute decision – the group started planning the demonstration and made large signs and around 200 T-shirts Tuesday afternoon.
Senior marketing major Brandon Bernardo attended chapel on West Campus and said the demonstration was not very noticeable.
“It wasn’t very obvious that they were there. It was kind of like, oh, I just happened to see them,” he said.
Bernardo said someone ran through the main floor of Felix Event Center during chapel holding a large sign.
“[But] everyone was watching the screen and it was dark, so no one really saw the person running. There was no commotion at all,” he said.
Senior biblical studies major Bryan Muirhead wore one of the shirts and said he identifies as an ally of Haven and of Dr. Ackley.
“We want everyone to know that we’re standing together in love and in peace and we want change,” he said. “There was no march – it was simply us wearing T-shirts and standing on West Campus and going to chapel and worshipping together, which I think is important.”
NBC Channel 4 News showed up and will be airing a segment on the T-shirt demonstration today at 5 p.m., according to Haven organizers.
University Relations representatives were unavailable for initial requests for comment early Wednesday afternoon.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Haven began organizing the demonstration on Sunday. They began organizing the event and making T-shirts and signs Tuesday afternoon.