For the past month, we at GetReligion have been following a story at Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical institution about 25 miles east of Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel mountains.
A few weeks ago, the school’s administration lifted its ban on same-sex dating relationships, saying that LGBT students could be romantically involved on campus. (However, they were expected not to be having sex; a stricture that heterosexual students were also expected to observe). This caused much rejoicing among gay students and their allies and it was an unusual step for a conservative Protestant college, to say the least.
Then the school’s trustees stepped in and reversed that decision. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which has had the most complete coverage thus far, picks it up here:
Azusa Pacific University students linked arms and prayed for one another Monday in response to the university board’s decision to reinstate a ban on LGBTQ relationships late last week.
Two hundred students gathered in front of the Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center on Monday morning in support of LGBTQ students who may have been hurting as a result of the reinstatement of the ban. A clause banning same-sex relationships had been removed from the student code of conduct by administrators at the start of the semester but reinstated on Friday…
In time for the Aug. 27 start of the fall semester and following months of discussions between students and university leaders, Azusa Pacific had removed a section from its student conduct policy that outlawed LGBTQ relationships on campus. The altered language referenced a standing ban on pre-marital sex but dropped any mention to orientation.
When the APU student newspaper published an article on Sept. 18 about the move, the 119-year-old university received some kudos but significantly more criticism, especially from Christian media outlets and pundits.
At this point, the newspaper links to (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President) Al Mohler’s Twitter feed.
Headlines claimed the university had “caved,” “surrendered” and was “Losing ‘God First.’”