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For example, last year, the writer Eliel Cruz was allegedly told by administrators that he couldn’t sell cupcakes to raise money for homeless LGBT youth because such “perceived advocacy” of LGBT people would conflict with the mission of Andrews University in Michigan. Meanwhile, gay students have to follow different rules.Even though some conservative schools are trying to find a compromise between their convictions and prevailing cultural norms, this posture often effectively creates two sets of rules: one for gay students, and one for straight students. 4 regional college in the Midwest, the student handbook explicitly forbids “touching, caressing, and other physical conduct of a sexual nature with a person of the same sex.” Yet heterosexual students at the same school are allowed to date and show affection as long as they abstain from sex. According to the handbook, “students who experience same sex attraction or identify as gay or lesbian are expected to refrain from ‘same sex sexual expression’ as it is embodied in culturally contextual practices (e.g., identifying as a couple or exhibiting expressions of physical intimacy).”What happens if students break a rule against same-sex dating?Some of these same schools are now attempting to separate sexual identity from sexual behavior in their policies and campus customs.However awkwardly, they’re trying to welcome gay students while preserving rules against same-sex “behavior.”Depending on the theological and political climate of the school, colleges have different ways of dealing with this new reality.A few have fully opened their communities to LGBT students and faculty, lifting all restrictions against same-sex dating or same-sex marriage.
After being courted by Wheaton College in Illinois, the openly gay blogger Julie Rodgers accepted the position of “ministry associate for spiritual care” for the LGBT population on campus in 2014.* Subsequently, she was inundated with students seeking help, comfort, and understanding.Ultimately, this move forced both of them to withdraw from the nation’s most prominent membership organization of evangelical universities.At other colleges, specific policies regarding LGBT students are unclear.These same religious schools also receive considerable federal funding in the form of grants and student loans.“Religious liberty is a bedrock principle of our nation; however, faith should never be used as a guise for discrimination,” said Stephen Peters, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.“We have been alarmed by the growing trend of schools quietly seeking the right to discriminate against LGBT students, and not disclosing that information publicly.
For example, at College of the Ozarks, ranked by U. At Messiah, situations are addressed “on a case-by-case manner that respects the dignity, privacy, and welfare of the person, in conjunction with the Christian identity and commitments of the college,” said Carla E. “This process is consistent for all behavioral standards and expectations established by the College—not just sexual behavior.”Gross noted that, as a Christian college, “Messiah’s institutional approach on human sexuality is based on the authority of scripture as we understand it and is rooted in the traditional teaching long held by the Christian Church—including Messiah’s founding denomination, the Brethren in Christ.” She emphasized that the school’s community standards are related to same-sex behavior, not orientation. Administrators “maintain that their policies are against behavior, not orientation, but they restrict forms of behavior to the point that there is no way to truly express orientation,” said Dan Heiland, a bisexual student at Messiah.