Patrick Henry College, a tiny Evangelical Christian bastion of the liberal arts in Virginia, has blocked campus access to a blog containing stories and commentary about the experience of being gay at the school.
Much of the blog’s content is fairly vanilla, pro-gay propaganda. One of the blog’s founders describes it as a “safe online space for closeted students and alumni,” according to the Times-Mirror.
Nevertheless, Queer at Patrick Henry College has created a raging tempest on the school’s campus. One reason is because the school’s honor code and handbook specifically exclude homosexuality.
“Part of the honor code is to be sexually pure,” Dr. Michael Farris, the college’s founder and chancellor, told the Times-Mirror. He added that the school’s official policy is that homosexual behavior is “sinful.”
Farris also suggested that the blog could be a “hoax.”
On Dec. 1, Farris contacted Queer at Patrick Henry College through Facebook.
“This page is in violation of our copyright of the name Patrick Henry College,” Farris fulminated, according to the Times-Mirror. “… you must remove this page at once. On Monday, we will began (sic) the legal steps to seek removal from Facebook and from the courts if necessary. In the process of this matter we can seek discovery from Facebook to learn your identity and seek damages from you as permitted by law. The best thing for all concerned is for you to simply remove this page.”
On Dec. 2, Farris sent another, more measured message, also via Facebook. “After further consultation, I withdraw my note from yesterday,” the second message said, according to the Times-Mirror. “While we believe in the inappropriate nature of the use of our trademarked name, we believe that litigation is not appropriate.”
Meanwhile, gossip about the blog filled the halls throughout campus. It was “all anyone [was] talking about,” an unnamed source told the Times-Mirror.
The same source said that the school had successfully repressed all access to Queer at Patrick Henry College on its WiFi server.
Patrick Henry College is a newer institution — founded only in 2000 — and many of its students were homeschooled before enrolling. The campus is also home to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been influential in the normalization of homeschooling throughout the country.