In response to the University’s decision to host the Lambeth Conference 2020
Network members are deeply disappointed and hurt by the University’s decision to host the Lambeth Bishop’s Conference 2020 despite the Church’s decision to exclude same-sex spouses (see statement from 25 April 2019). The University should have cancelled hosting the Conference, because specifically excluding same-sex spouses is homophobic from the side of the church, and hosting the event on University premises facilitates this act of institutional homophobia. The Staff Network calls on the University to reconsider its decision to host Lambeth 2020 and to prioritise its commitment to LGBT+ students and staff alike on issues of equality, diversity, and inclusivity.
Should the University of Kent maintain its decision to host, the Staff Network calls on the University to withdraw its facilities and support for the discriminatory “spouses programme”. Those events should take place off campus. The University cannot uphold its commitment to values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity while allowing the discriminatory stream of the Lambeth Conference to go ahead.
The University’s statement from 26 April acknowledges “the hurt experienced by many people because of the decision to exclude same-sex spouses”. Cancelling support for the exclusionary and homophobic spouses programme would not only recognise that hurt, but actively mitigate it. It would be one very important and material step that the University of Kent can take to support its LGBT+ staff and students and to uphold its commitment to the values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity that the University says it stands for.