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ISU Apologizes For Publishing Anti-Gay Letter That Violates Its Values

Larry Dietz speaking at a podium
Jeff Smudde
Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said he has initiated a review of editorial policies after ISU's alumni magazine posted a letter to the editor that expressed "disgust" with a photo of a gay couple.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz and the editor of ISU's alumni magazine say they have apologized to a couple whose picture was criticized in a letter to the editor. Susan Marquardt Blystone is listed as the editor on ISU's website.

The lesbian couple was featured last year in an article in Illinois State magazine entitled "Redbird Romance." The magazine published a letter from one reader who said they were "disgusted" by the photo.

Letter to the editor
The letter to the editor as it appeared in the alumni magazine.

“God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman. Anything else is an abomination to the Lord,” the letter, written by 1985 alum Linda Jackson, said.

The magazine posted the letter with an editor's note expressing the university's mission of diversity and inclusion.

On Thursday, Dietz responded to a backlash of negative feedback by issuing a message to the ISU community saying the letter should not have been printed.

“It contained language that violated the university’s value of respect and it is in conflict with strides the University has made and continues to make related to our values of diversity and inclusion.” 

ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome said the university has started reviewing its editorial policies in response to the incident.

“There’s been some discussions at the higher level of university administration about reexamining these kinds of procedures,” Jome said. “I think certainly, going forward there will be more eyes on it.”

Jome said the publication is currently reviewed by staff in ISU’s University Marketing and Communications and the university alumni office.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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