Pepperdine University is a private school in Malibu, California that has an affiliation with the Churches of Christ. Despite the Christian influence, there are a lot of gay students who go there and some of them are trying to start a student group.
Surprise, surprise, the school has denied a recent proposal for such a group. In fact, it’s the fourth time the school has “denied or discouraged” a gay-straight alliance group from forming.
Now, there’s a petition to overturn the university’s decision created by Alex Cooper:
For over a year, Pepperdine’s administration has been in negotiations with the students of Reach OUT, an unrecognized gay-straight alliance, in an effort to promote inclusivity toward LGBT students.
Pepperdine students often struggle to be honest about their sexual orientation because they fear rejection from their peers as well as the risk of losing their scholarships and leadership opportunities. Moreover, professors do not feel comfortable speaking on the issue, worrying that they will be denied tenure or research grants.
Until now, the university’s policies have created an atmosphere of silence and anxiety that alienates not only the LGBT student population but also anyone concerned for their well-being…
Administrators are concerned that recognition of Reach OUT would “imply to many that Pepperdine is not honoring our affiliation with the Churches of Christ,” according to a statement released by the Office of Student Affairs. Reach OUT’s mission, however, is not antithetical to the religious mission of the university. In fact, we respect and reinforce it.
This shouldn’t even be an issue. As the petition indicates, the groups isn’t endorsing anything the church would be ashamed of — unless admitting that gay students exist on campus goes against some Commandment Against Accepting Reality.
Please consider signing the petition. If you’re a Pepperdine student or a Christian, you should mention that, too.
Incidentally, last year, LGBT students at Harding University (another school with a Churches of Christ affiliation) released an online magazine where they spoke out anonymously about their sexuality.
(Thanks to Caroline for the link!)