Cleveland, Tenn. ( Associated Press) — A private Christian university is considering strictly limiting the free speech rights of its students when it comes to sexuality and gender, how they behave and what they wear and what they do on campus or Even what one can say online, as per published reports.
If approved, the policy presented this month to faculty and staff at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee would not allow students to identify as anything other than their biological gender. According to the leaked draft, they will also be prohibited from questioning these restrictions or any other university policy.
The proposal has drawn criticism from some alumni, including the Affirming Alum Collective, a group of Lee University alumni, who posted on Facebook that they were “deeply saddened and disappointed by the new LGBTQIA+ policies” under consideration.
University spokesman, Kendra Mann, issued a statement to WTVC-TV and the Chattanooga Times Free Press, saying the policy has been in the works for years and is in line with long-standing religious beliefs.
“The statement in question does not represent a broad change in policy at Lee; it is an interpretation of the beliefs underpinning a set of policies that have been in place for a considerable period of time,” the statement said.
The school, which receives funding in part from the Church of God, planned to receive more feedback before publishing its “Statement of Beliefs Concerning Human Sexuality and Gender” before the fall semester, the statement said.
The draft policy declares that biological sex is binary and that “humans do not have the ability to choose sex, or be correctly observed.”
“No member of the Lee University community may publicly identify or behave as a gender that does not match his or her biological gender,” the draft said.
“No member of the Lee University community may promote or advocate in person, in writing or online, sexual acts, behaviors, or lifestyles that are contrary to Scripture, this Statement of Faith, or any other University policy,” It says.
The policy also forbids sex between unmarried heterosexuals.
“I feel like this is his last attempt to try to silence the students, so a lot of the policies within the statement are about advocacy why and what you can and can’t say on public platforms in support.” Number of LGBTQ+ students and people,” said Taylor Lane, a lesbian who left school in December.
Former student Joey St. Hubert told WTVC-TV that it is not right for the university to preach and not practice love and inclusivity.
Current student Bethany Robinson also had a problem with the proposal.
“It’s a Christian institution, so I understand their beliefs, but it should still be a place of equal community and love, no matter what, because we’re Christians. And as Christians, we need to love one another.” should,” Robinson said.
Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity for education programs that receive federal funding, but religious schools such as Lee are exempt if they interfere with the organization’s religious principles, according to the US Department of Education. We do.
Lee’s policy is part of a national trend, according to Caitlin Gabriel-Black, assistant professor of psychology at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, who has researched the experiences of LGBTQ students at evangelical colleges.
“Zeroing down on these students, who represent such a small minority of students, appeals to the grounds of schools like Lee and other evangelical Christian schools,” Gabrielle-Black told the newspaper.
The Church of God is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with thousands of congregations and millions of members around the world.