Officials at a Tennessee university have rescinded their offer of acceptance to a student nurse after they discovered he was engaged to a man.
Alex Duron, 38, was due to join a master’s program in nurse anesthesia at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Classes for the three-year course start July 27. Duron says he applied to the evangelical university because he’d heard good things about this particular program and believed it would benefit his career. He was excited to be accepted.
However, on Tuesday, in a message he posted to Facebook, Duron revealed the university had taken back the offer just a week before he was due to relocate
“This weekend I received very bad news regarding the institution I chose for my continued education,” Duron wrote. “It turns out that a faith-informed education from Union University is not God’s plan for me, because Union University is not “informed” enough to not recognize that bigotry masked as religion is not Christian at all. My God taught me to love thy neighbor (Leviticus 19:18) and not to judge as is told in the book of Matthew.
“I am writing to let the public know that this is not ok.”
Duron shared a screenshot of the letter he received from the university.
It stated: “Your request for graduate housing and your social media profile, including your intent to live with your partner, indicates your unwillingness to abide by the commitment you made in signing (the university’s community values statements).”
The lengthy ‘values statement’ lays out the Christian university’s beliefs and expectations of students.
The document says the institution will not tolerate, “Sexually impure relationships”, which, “include but are not limited to participation in or appearance of engaging in premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual activities, or cohabitation.”
Duron told the Jackson Sun the letter had turned his plans upside down.
“I was caught completely off guard. I have altered my whole life. I had quit my job, sold a lot of my stuff and was ready to move.”
He said that he was never asked about his sexuality during the interview stage. Duron says he planned to live on campus in a dorm with other students. He does not know why the university thought he would be living with his fiancé. The two men got engaged in January, but Duron’s partner did not plan on moving to Jackson. It is unknown why the university felt the need to go through Duron’s social media accounts.
Duron said he signed the ‘values statement’ in haste, saying the university had sent it to him and requested he sign it immediately.
“There was not even a hint of these views when I interviewed to be a student.”
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Responding to the story hitting the news, the University issued a statement saying it stood by its decision.
“As a Christian institution, Union University has standards of behavior for its faculty, staff, and students that are consistent with biblical teaching and historic, orthodox Christian practice.
“We love our students and want them to thrive and succeed, and we believe that a standard of conduct that honors God and submits to his authority is an important part of that success. All students who apply to Union University sign a statement saying they will comply with the university’s values. Those students who fail to abide by those values – or who show no intention of attempting to do so – are subject to disciplinary measures that can include dismissal from the university.”
In his Facebook posting, Duron highlighted the fact Union University receives some federal funding. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Tennessee Baptist-affiliated private university has 3,100 students. Student fees average $45,000 a year. To lower this cost, the university receives around $40million annually from the U.S. government.
As a Christian institution, Union is legally exempt from following Title IX regulations prohibiting places of education discriminating based on sex and sexual orientation.
Duron told the Jackson Sun, “This is the first time I’ve been discriminated against and frankly I can’t believe this still happens.”
He has been heartened by the support he has received from many people to his original Facebook posting. Queerty has reached out to him for further comment.