A Goshen College employee resigned and wrote an open letter to the college community about hiring practices, which prohibit LGBT workers from being in a same-sex relationship.
Tabi Berkey worked at Goshen College for two years. She came out of the closet ten years ago but said she felt she had to hide her sexuality while on campus.
“As a lesbian, you’re not allowed to be in a relationship,” Berkey said.
The college’s hiring guidelines state that sexual activity is reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman.
The hiring practices apply to all employees no matter their sexual orientation, according to Jodi Beyler, director of communications at Goshen College.
“We ask that employees abide by that when they agree to work at Goshen College,” Beyler said. “We desire for all people to be whole, to be at peace with who they are. We are also a college of the Mennonite Church.”
Berkey got engaged to her girlfriend two weeks ago and was nervous the news would spread to too many people in the Goshen College community.
“I had to make sure I wasn’t outing myself to people who might not already know,” Berkey said.
She resigned from her position because she has accepted a new job in Cincinnati. Before packing up the moving truck, she decided to take a stand.
“It was time to add a new voice to this discussion,” Berkey said.
Berkey wrote a letter detailing the struggle she faced as an employee.
"After eight years of living openly as a lesbian in Goshen, I returned to the closet as a GC staffer two years ago,“ ,” Berkey wrote, in a letter posted on the GC Open Letter Facebook page.
"I compromised my beliefs and my promise to always be true to myself because I believed in GC’s message of acceptance, and foolishly hoped I could look past the hiring policy and see only the goodness that penetrates the other areas of life at GC," Berkey explained.
“How can you teach acceptance and love while turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the people on this campus? Please, no longer pay lip service: end this discrimination."
Berkey did say that she felt support and acceptance from her fellow coworkers.
Her goal is to ultimately encourage a change in policy at Goshen College.
“It’s just this one thing,” Berkey said. “Everything else at Goshen College is amazing.”
“I am glad that Tabi was willing to be part of this conversation before she moved on,” Beyler said. “This is about people’s lives and our values as people of faith.”
Beyler said school officials have discussed same-sex relationships, but there are no current plans to change the hiring practices.