Students are angry their Christian university is upholding Biblical teachings on sexuality
On May 23, Seattle Pacific University's board of trustees announced the university will ease its ban on employees engaging in same-sex sexual activity, extramarital sexual activity, or cohabitation before marriage.
The board chose to keep the policy and remain in communion with the Free Methodist Church USA.
Students at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) are not happy that the Christian institution in Washington state has reaffirmed its commitment to Biblical teachings on sex and sexuality.
On May 23, SPU's board of trustees announced the school will not be changing its policy prohibiting employees from same-sex sexual activity, extramarital sexual activity, and cohabitating before marriage.
The board chose to keep the policy and remain in communion with the Free Methodist Church USA, which defines marriage as “between one man and one woman” and as “the only proper setting for sexual intimacy.”
[RELATED: ‘Baptist university establishes its first LGBTQ+ student group’]
The board came to the decision after “thorough and prayerful deliberation” and with “sober acknowledgment of how this news will be received”, Board Chair Cedric Davis stated in the announcement.
A day after the announcement, around 200 SPU students and staff walked out of class at 10:50 AM to protest the policy.
The walkout was organized by students who believe that the board’s decision discriminates against the LGBTQ community and does not reflect their values.
This board's decision only affects SPU staff, not students, who have their own Standards of Conduct.
Students and staff wearing pride attire rallied outside Demaray Hall, the campus administration building, waving pride flags, playing kazoos, banging on buckets, and holding signs with messages like “go back to Sunday school and learn how to love your neighbor” and “Jesus is ashamed.”
Students could also be heard screaming “we want gay staff!” and “hey hey, ho ho, homophobia got to go.”
[RELATED: ‘Christian college advances religious freedom lawsuit against Biden administration’]
Interim SPU President Pete Menjaras addressed the protestors, saying “I also know you're disappointed with the recent announcement by the board of trustees and I can't speak for them. I also know that you want change and change isn't happening fast enough for you and I recognize that.”
President Menjaras announced that the Board of Trustees will host a town hall to hear students’ concerns. The rally ended with students walking into Demaray Hall to hold a sit-in.
Students were on day 10 of the sit-in as of June 3, the Seattle Times reports.
These rights of religious institutions are Constitutionally protected, as recently re-affirmed in the 2020 SCOTUS decision Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.
Campus Reform contacted SPU and every individual mentioned; this article will be updated accordingly.