Well what’d you expect from the school that put Kenneth Starr, defender of Prop 8, in charge of the place? Baylor University joins the list of American education outposts that refuse to let gay students get any recognition on campus.
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Lesbian senior Samantha Jones says she started the Sexual Identity Forum back in November after realizing the Baptist university in Waco, Texas, didn’t have an LGBT issues group. “Being a gay student at Baylor over the past four years, I’ve felt neglected,” says Jones. “Not necessarily abused by the university but intentionally neglected.”
But on Wednesday, after applying for formal recognition as a student group, Jones and her classmates were turned down. For a second time. Their first application to be chartered was killed in January when the Student Activities Charter Review Committee (composed of three university staffers and two students) refused to recommend the group to the Student Life vice president. A revised proposal was also shot down.
And why won’t Baylor let them form the group? Especially when SIF isn’t even so much a GSA or an advocacy group, says Jones, as it is a student group about sexuality and gender identity?
Oh c’mon, you know why: “From the beginning, there were concerns with the application in relation to university mission and policies,” says university spokeswoman Lori Fogleman (pictured). “It is the university’s opinion that responsible and healthy dialogue, which takes place on a college campus all the time about socially compelling issues which include human sexuality, are the kinds of issues that are best carried out through professionally facilitated discussions.” Match that with the school’s official statement on human sexuality, and you get a better answer: “It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.”
Adds Fogleman: “A student chartered organization is not the best mechanism, or the most viable medium, to have such difficult dialogues.” Yeah, keep those difficult dialogues in the closet.