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Evangelical College Azusa Pacific Trustees Reinstate Ban on LGBT Relationships On Campus

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The Azusa Pacific Board of Trustees released a letter on Friday announcing the reinstatement of the college’s previous policy regarding homosexual relationships on campus-they would not be allowed.

Zu Media, the student newspaper reported on September 18th that officials at the university had decided to lift the ban on romantic relationships for those who identify as LGBT beginning this fall.

Big League Politics reported last week that the California-based Evangelical College had caved after years of pressure to allow homosexual relationships on campus:

Evangelical College Azusa Pacific Caves on Gay Relationships, Will Now Be Allowed on Campus

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In a statement on Friday, however, the board said officials never received approval to remove language from the student standards of conduct that prohibited same-sex relationships.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear APU Community,

Today, as a board, we reaffirm our responsibility to steward the Christ-centered mission of Azusa Pacific University. We commit the following to each member of the APU community and to all who share in the 2,000-year legacy of Christianity that forms our bedrock:

We remain unequivocally biblical and orthodox in our evangelical Christian identity. The Bible serves as our anchor.

We stand firm in our convictions, never willing to capitulate to outside pressures, be they legal, political, or social.

We affirm God’s perfect will and design for humankind with the biblical understanding of the marriage covenant as between one man and one woman. Outside of marriage, He calls His people to abstinence.

We advocate for holy living within the university in support of our Christian values.

We declare that our clear mission to equip disciples and scholars to advance the work of God in the world is more necessary today than ever before.

Last week, reports circulated about a change to the undergraduate student standards of conduct. That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated.

We see every student as a gift from God, infinitely valuable and worthy in the eyes of our Creator and as members of our campus community. We believe our university is the best place for earnest and guided conversation to unfold with all students about every facet of life, including faith and sexuality. We embrace all students who seek a rigorous Christian higher education and voluntarily join us in mission.

We pledge to boldly uphold biblical values and not waver in our Christ-centered mission. We will examine how we live up to these high ideals and enact measures that prevent us from swaying from that sure footing.

Through prayerful obedience to God’s Word, we believe APU’s best days lie ahead.

Grace and peace,

APU Board of Trustees”

Co-executive director of Brave Commons, a group that aims to support LGBT students at Christian universities and a recent APU alumni, Erin Green, described the reversal as a betrayal.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Green said that for over a year she and other students had spent hours participating in discussions with university administrators in hopes to have the policy that bans romantic relationships among same-sex students permanently removed.

Today, Azusa Pacific University's Board of Trustees reversed the policy drop that we worked so hard to achieve. An…

Posted by Erin Green on Friday, September 28, 2018

Green said in the Facebook post the policy change

“wasn’t to give a green light or go ahead for folks who identify with the LGBT community to run free and wild and do whatever they want on campus. …

“It actually just gave us a bigger safety net and removed stigmatization toward our community,” she added, asserting that LGBT students are “often falsely identified by the conservative Christian community as a sub-human group.” Ones who are “inherently involved in illicit sexual activity,” which she fervently said is “false.”

When APU administrators announced the policy change, they stated that despite allowing LGBT relationships on campus they would still support “biblical principles of human sexuality,” and the belief that “sexual union is intended by God to take place only within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman.”

On a similar note, Bill Fiala, Associate Dean of Students at APU, had described the code of conduct change as still being “in alignment with our identity as a Christian institution. The language changed, but the spirit didn’t. Our spirit is still a conservative, evangelical perspective on human sexuality.”

Chelsen Vicari, who serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C., said that the board of trustees should be

“applaud[ed] for their commitment to biblical values and reaffirmation of traditional Christian sexual ethics.”

“One suspects the university garnered an outpouring of pressure and frustration from alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff. And in the same vein as the 2014 World Vision debacle, a swift reversal was enacted,” Vicari added.

It’s unknown if the university will continue plans for a new pilot program that was announced at the same time as the student standards of conduct policy change said to provide “a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus.”

 

 

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