Social Justice in Our Backyard

With Spring Break just around the corner, we all have plenty to be excited about and grateful for in the coming weeks. At this time, your Graduate Student Council implores you to take a moment out of your busy schedule to get up to speed on a current event that directly impacts our local Catholic community.

At the end of 2013, Bellevue’s Eastside Catholic High School dismissed their Vice Principal and beloved swim coach, Mark Zmuda, after he refused to submit to a divorce following his July wedding with his longtime partner, Dana Jergens.

Mr Z

Following “Mr. Z’s” dismissal, over 400 Eastside students protested the their school’s decisions. Their demonstration received national attention and but particularly resonated with Catholic high school students across King County. On a positive note, in the weeks following this activism, both the Principal and the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Eastside Catholic High School resigned.

Students, parents and alumni of Eastside Catholic, Seattle Prep and Holy Names to name a few have been voicing their support of same sex rights, requesting not only that Mr. Z be reinstated as Vice President, but also that the Catholic Church take a stance against this type of discrimination and open itself up to a more open dialogue about the underlying issues that led to Eastside making this decision.

Seattle University has a unique opportunity to advocate for a more just and humane outcome of this most unfortunate situation. As students of a Catholic, Jesuit University which is by definition dedicated to creating a more just and human world for our own and future generations alike, are in a prime position to join this conversation in an effective and respectful manner.

Last week, the undergraduate Student Government of Seattle University (SGSU) representative assembly unanimously approved a letter (click here to view letter) addressed to 1) the Eastside Catholic Board of Trustees, 2) Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, 3) the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and 4) Pope Francis himself. Know that this document was developed in consultation with people deeply involved in Eastside Catholic and their approval was requested before the SGSU began writing it.

To truly offer these sentiments as the stance of the Seattle University student body, we are requesting your signatures. Your Graduate Student Council, together with the SGSU, ask you to take a moment to review and contribute your name to Seattle University’s contribution to justice in this matter. Please join us in taking a stand for Mr. Z, in solidarity with the Eastside Catholic students, and encouraging a more open, loving, and dynamic Catholic Church.

Digital signatures can be submitted via:

If you would prefer to sign the hard copy, you may do so at the SGSU & GSC office, STCN 360.


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