To the school I will be leaving at the end of the Spring Semester:

At first I was upset about leaving you. I felt like you had given up on me as you start to get rid of my degree. I tried to tell myself that I loved you enough to stay even without the reward of two degrees, one of which I have already earned. But the closer we come to the end of our time together, the more I can't wait to walk away from you.

When I visited and first committed to attending your school you welcomed me with open arms. You made me feel at home when home was 500 miles away. I made a few friends, I felt loved, and it was a great thing that we had going. But then something changed. The newness factor wore off, and only a few people seemed to care about me in any way.

The values I was told you had started to fade away. The family and community environment you showed in your brochures seemed nonexistent. When it came time for me to make my decision, when it came time for me to choose if I was going to say goodbye, you practically shoved me out the door. I really think that only four people on campus are truly sad to see me go.

You say you accept diversity, yet you hold a strong Christian mindset. I understand you are a Christian school, but in a department in which religious is supposed to be an academic resource it isn't okay. I soon felt myself being mocked, attacked, glared at, and even hated for trying to express the different beliefs that are held around the world. I soon didn't feel welcome in class. How is that a friendly community to be a part of?

There are many things I love about you. Your campus is beautiful, the area in which you are located is fairly calm and clean. But the way that you fail to welcome in people of a different mindset, the way you fail to let me feel as though I could not be included, is probably your biggest flaw. When your students don't feel safe on campus, and you fail to do anything about it, that is where anyone should draw the line.

I wish you the best, and I hope things get better for you. I hope one day that your students will feel safe on campus, that you will once again have thriving departments, and I hope you never compromise your United Methodists roots and truly promote the open hearts, open minds, and open doors policy that they claim.

I can say now that my decision to leave is the best for me. And no, I can't wait to hand in that final on the 8th and get to walk away. I will miss my religious studies department, I will miss the beauty of your campus. But I will be accepted and listened to where I am going. And I won't have to feel as though my presence is a burden to the entire community.