Kenneth Starr’s Baylor University Won’t Let Gays Form Student Group (Because It Violates The School’s ‘Policies’)

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.

[flv: 650 400]

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.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #bayloruniversity #college #gay-straightalliances stories and more


  • Daine

    “Baptist University”. When it happens to be a public university, then we can accuse the institution of discrimination. If

  • Daine

    “Baptist University”. When a public University is practicing this, then there is a case for discrimination.

  • Roy

    No, it’s not discrimination. Just bigoted assholery. What else would you expect from Baylor?

  • Francis

    Religious fundamentalism=bigotry.

  • Kent M

    (1) you have a Baylor-only scholarship, or
    (2) you’re too lazy to work and that’s the only college mummy and daddy will pay for, or
    (3) you’re a legacy admission that even your community college won’t touch…

    …then why would you ever, ever want to go there anyway? It’s in WACO. There is NOTHING in Waco except this anti-gay school and ‘a’ Dr. Pepper Museum (it’s not even the only Dr. Pepper Museum in Texas).

  • Shannon1981

    It is beyond me why any gay person would go to a school like this. While they may not keep you out, they will ignore you and even make it against the rules to *be* gay(meaning dating, sex, being out of the closet,advocacy,etc), thus, making sure your life is as miserable as possible during your time there. Easy answer: choose a college that doesn’t have religious overtones. AT ALL. And preferably a public one, so you can sue on the basis of discrimination if shit like this goes down.

  • Jeffree

    @Shannon1981: Not everyone has a choice of college. A student who relies on parents to pay tution/books, room/board may only be allowed to apply to schools that Mom/Pop approve of.

    Some students can only attend a local school due to family obligations or finances. (ill parent, no way to pây for housing, etc.)

    Granted, a student can try 2 apply elsewhere and try getting a scholarship, but those options are limited. Running the risk of being kicked-out or disowned is still a big challenge too. I’ve seen that happen.

  • Shannon1981

    @Jeffree: Yeah, I get that.BUT…there are other avenues. The best thing a gay kid from a home where homosexuality is some kind of sin or abomination can do is (secretly, of course) contact LGBT organizations for help, explaining their situation. There is a lot of help, especially if they get kicked out…they don’t have to claim parents on the FAFSA, and can get free money to go where they please. Loans might be necessary, but when talking about the alternative )read: going to a school like this) Totally worth it.

    I know about being kicked out, etc. My family, especially back then, thought like this, and even now, when I am almost 30, they are in a state of denial. At best it is ambiguous common knowledge. I don’t push the issue because there is really no changing minds in this situation. They like the Exodus solution: conversion therapy. Its sad, but true.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Shannon1981: Hey there, birthday girl.

    I can’t remember what it’s like to be 18, but I think it’s fair to say that you are stronger than a lot of the kids who grow up in fundamentalist households. They’re not taught to (or allowed to) think for themselves, and every time they bring up anything their parents don’t like they’re told that they’re going to hell if they don’t change. Until they get a little more life experience, it’s hard for them to know these other avenues exist, let alone get over their fear of using them.

    BTW – I know a lesbian couple in their sixties, who’ve been together 30 years, whose parents are STILL in denial about the relationship.

    How’s the post-birthday hangover?

  • Shannon1981

    @justiceontherocks: LOL Im drinking hair of the dog. Its a week long celebration. Today is actually mom’s birthday. Mine is NEXT friday. Not sure if I said that in my posts last night. I was born 3/11/81. Mom 3/4/59. she went to church last night to celebrate(Bible class) and I stayed home and got drunk. Good times LOL. Its spring break, and it colliding with my birthday is a great excuse to stay drunk for a week LOL.

    As for my strength…I am naturally stubborn, and the idiocy I am surrounded with day in and day out just compounds that. Ignorant people might not change, but we can sure as hell do our best to make the ones who are capable come around, and eliminate the results of bigotry from the incapable from our lives.

    And yeah at 18, I knew a lot of frightened kids. Luckily, my personality is…out there…to say the least. I never gave a damn what anyone thought, and I still don’t. Therein lies the difference, i think. Don’t get me wrong, I was fearful and self hating because I drank the Kool Aid for 12-13 years. But after I got rid of that line of thinking, I knew they were crazy. I can only hope the people at this oppressive school can come away from it with their sanity in tact, and not brainwashed.

  • Daine

    I understand about the non-options and I feel for those who will see their lives limited for it, but there other avenues. In my college, we don’t have a gay-straight alliance. I had to make due, and it didn’t ruin me.
    My point is, if a christian institute happens to be homophobic, we can’t act surprised. I’m not a christian and I could care less if christians like me. My life doesn’t ride on them. College only lasts three years, and we have our whole life ahead of us. It doesn’t matter if your 18 or 30.

  • Jeffree

    @Shannon1981: Agreed that there *are* options, and that they can involve trade offs.

    A few friends of mine from HS went to Christian colleges, but for it was probably better for them to leave home just so they could be somewhere with at least some sexual & theological diversity —even if that was under-ground. Just being able to meet other LGB people out of the watchful eye or Ma/Pa was an improvement.
    Obviously that wouldn’t work for everyone.

    Other friends just skipped college, worked ad then left home and came out. Some managed to get work/study & loans.

    In my case, my parents {agnostic ex-hippies) helped me anyway they could with school, and I have loans, a scholarship and work two & a half part-time jobs. I consider myself lucky compared to many people.

    You’re amazing to get through and away from your experiences with yr parents & religion.
    Some parents do come around eventually.

    Stay fierce.

  • Shannon1981

    @Jeffree: Thanks Hon! You sound like you have awesome parents. Options are out there, and I really wish there were some website that published them. I have a tiny little blog that I post on occasionally, that was started as a result of the suicides in the fall, but hardly any real hits….if a MAJOR site would explain that it is possible to not go to one of these nutty institutions, I’d be willing to bet some of these kids would love it and realize they are not doomed. Sometimes I think it is simply a case of them thinking their parents know best, and it never occurred to them to think any other way. Just that they either hide or get kicked out and be forced to live a life of poverty.

    These days, if you make no money, the feds give you plenty of money. Granted some of it has to be paid back, but it can be done. I wish there were a way to have them realize that going to some really religious school is NOT the only option. At 18, you are an adult. You should not be forced to surrender to bigotry at the hands of your own family any longer, and certainly shouldn’t be made to go to a place like Baylor. It sounds like prison to me.

  • Grace Evans

    Baylor has excellent academics and freaking amazing academic opportunities. I love it for that, I’ve come so far with all the professors supporting my academic endeavors and just being in the wonderful learning environment.
    I don’t really know anything about gay/lesbian/transgender groups because I lived my whole life in place where it was a strictly taboo subject. It was very dangerous to be anything besides southern baptist. But since I’m a Baylor student, I’ll go ahead and put in my two cents.
    I love that this group is here! We need it. Lots of people I know want to discuss the issues and learn more but are terrified to do so on campus. This is unacceptable.
    I get the feeling that Baylor turned down the charter because the big money people that support the university are an issue. C’mon. The faculty and staff aren’t that conservative, it’s mostly the students.
    This group is also needed just for anyone who wants a safe place. Safe places where you can totally be yourself are absent on campus.
    Thank you so much Samantha!

  • Reese

    This isn’t really anything new. When I was at Baylor from 2002-2006, there was another GLBT organization that had been denied official recognition by the university. If I remember correctly, it was called Baylor Freedom, and I think it sort of faded away after the founding members graduated. While an official charter may have allowed it more longevity, it managed to run pretty effectively as an unofficial organization. Lord knows there was certainly no shortage of GLBT students on that campus (though a significant portion were closeted frat boys).

  • Kirby

    There are many things to consider before condemning those students at Baylor or many other colleges when it comes to supporting the glbt community. These students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and please do not condemn them until you have walked in their shoes. These young people are not stupid as some posters would have us think. This current issue is just putting a tiny chink in the Baylor wall of silence and basic lack of understanding of the human condition outside what we locals often refer to as “the Baylor bubble”. Baylor has tried over the past 166 years to remain outside the “sinful world” around it. Much work is in the future before places of higher education like Baylor gain their own needed education.

  • Kev C

    @Grace Evans: Baylor is an inferior university and students should avoid it.

  • Hyhybt

    Why does the general tone of this comment thread suggest that those who DO go there, for whatever reason, should not work to improve the place?

  • Shannon1981

    @Hyhybt: Probably because it won’t work, and they’d just wind up doing themselves and those like them more harm than good. People like the folks who run this cult of a school won’t change, and they will attack and punish anyone who thinks they ought to, or tries to make them. These poor kids don’t stand a chance against the administration of schools like this.

  • Hyhybt

    @Shannon1981: Maybe…. but then, with that attitude nothing would ever get done anywhere.

  • Kev C

    @Hyhybt: It’s a private university with no interest in diversifying. The only thing to do is to avoid Baylor.

  • Shannon1981

    @Hyhybt: Its the whole ‘pick your battles’ thing, ya know? Fundamentalist religion is nothing more than an evil, socially acceptable cult. They have zero interest in listening to anyone outside their own world. I know plenty of religious people who I can agree to disagree with, but people like this? Nothing doing. They are so brainwashed that they are incapable of changing. I think the only way to change folks like this is for something drastic to happen- like their own kid turning out to be gay or choosing to be atheist. And, even then, they may very well opt to disown the child rather than listen and learn. Sad, but true.

    We can change the world, but not individual sects like this. It would be like trying to overrun Charlie Manson’s Ranch.

Comments are closed.