Students speak on Uganda controversy Reply

Lasell student perspective

Jay Franzone – Contributing Writer 

In late February this year Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law that toughens penalties and punishment for gay individuals in the country.
This law, even more extreme than the one in place in Russia, outlaws the “promotion of a homosexual agenda.”

Furthermore any person known to be gay must be reported to police and jailed for life. There are incentives for citizens to report on gay people, but people are not punished if they don’t turn gays in. Against what modern science has proven, Museveni went on to say about the legislation, “No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature.”

The Makerere University Walter Reed Project in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, an American funded HIV and disease treatment center, was raided by Ugandan Police, claiming the center was “training youths in homosexuality.”

Immediately after Museveni signed the bill, western nations have condemned these actions and the law. South African Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu, has said, “The law recalls attempts by the Nazis and apartheid to legislate against love.”

Here on campus, Lasell College’s Shoulder-to-Shoulder trip will leave in a matter of weeks to provide intensive education to middle schoolage children in Uganda. If the college plans to continue to support this trip under these circumstances, then a question begs to be asked: “Is the freedom and lives of gay men and women in Uganda less valuable than a child’s education?”

I am fully supportive of the students who plan to go and their mission; I just wish I, and others, could go without being jailed for life.

Traveling students’ response

Kristina Gimenez & Kevin Moloney – Contributing Writers

As students going on the Shoulder-to- Shoulder trip to Uganda in May, we wish
to emphasize the purpose of the trip is to teach English, math, and science, regardless of sexual orientation or our views on the matter. We are going to provide Ugandan students with a consistent, reliable source of education in order for them to be able to pass an exam that will determine their future, as teachers often miss
days of school.

Our presence does not support or oppose their law and our views will not be discussed for the sake of not imposing our individual opinions as the overall opinion of the people in the United States. The law was put into effect to target Ugandans, not American students like us. Anyone can apply to go on this trip and participants will not be penalized or jailed because of the law. To pull our efforts and
intentions away from the Ugandan students who have nothing to do with their government or the passing of this law is unfair.

We are going to Uganda because they need assistance. The passing of this law does not eliminate Uganda’s need for that same assistance. To oppose this trip because of an anti-gay law, when in our own country gay marriage is illegal
in most states, is ill advised.

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