Update: In response to several alumni comments, St. Joseph's University responded to a Neighbors inquiry by directing us to the Alumni Association's Facebook page, where it posted this statement along with Megan Edwards and Katie MacTurk's love story and photo:
As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Saint Joseph’s is a welcoming, inclusive community. Our focus is on respect and caring for all individuals as individuals."
When the Saint Joseph’s Alumni Association announced they would hold a Valentine’s Day contest on Facebook called “How I Met My Hawk Mate,” SJU alumnae Megan Edwards and Katie MacTurk decided it would be a good way to share the news about their recent engagement with past classmates.
After submitting their photo and short entry on Jan. 26 about how they met during their senior year, the couple began “religiously checking our email and Facebook pages” to see if the story showed up on the alumni association’s Facebook page. According to the contest, the submissions were to be posted within 24 hours and Facebook users would choose the winner by liking a post the most.
“Nearly a week after our submission, Katie called the Alumni Association and left them a voicemail,” the couple detailed in a public Facebook message. “After getting called back, we learned the Alumni Association had ‘discussed our submission’ and inevitably decided not to post our submission because ‘the Catholic Church does not recognize same-sex marriage.'”
So far, Facebook users shared the note Edwards posted expressing the couple’s frustration with SJU’s lack of support for their story 314 times, and several SJU alumni shared their aggravation.
“By reaching out to our SJU family, we are hoping to ensure that all alumni are treated fairly and equally,” the couple wrote. “We hope that all SJU can become a more accepting and equal environment for LGBT students and alumni."
Neighbors is awaiting a response from SJU.
"At SJU I was taught to fight unjust laws to ensure all were treated with dignity and respect," Annie Sauthoff wrote on the Alumni Association's Facebook wall. "I am so dissapointed in SJU and how they have chosen to treat members of the SJU community. I am sad to say that in seeing this, I am not proud to be a hawk."
According to Edwards' and MacTurk's respective Facebook pages, they live in Philadelphia.
The winner of the “How I Met My Hawk Mate” contest will be announced Feb. 14 and receive a $100 gift card to a restaurant of their choice. Click here to read the couple’s full submission to SJU.