College and gay dating
But attempts to revise those policies can draw scrutiny and media attention — and can call up a litany of questions about how these rules can be enforced.
Does Abilene Christian’s policy “mean that if two guys go to a movie together, are they suddenly in a same-sex romantic relationship?
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This carve-out was little-known before 2015, when a report from the Human Rights Campaign noted that dozens of faith-based schools had asked the federal government for waivers confirming they need not comply with parts of the statute.
More than 253 exemptions, including for East Texas Baptist University and Howard Payne University, had been granted by 2016.
It follows years of discussion and fits into the school’s broader attempt to be more inclusive, he said.
The student handbook will be revised over the summer to clarify that students who aren’t employees are free to be in same-sex relationships so long as they’re not sexually active — the same expectation the school has for heterosexual students who are not married.
” It could, he said, “potentially turn into a witch hunt.” Schubert said the same-sex dating ban will be enforced on a case-by-case basis and will take effect next fall.
But the school’s website has already been updated to say that certain student employees — those “asked to exemplify and support the university’s mission” — will be barred from dating people of the same sex, just like faculty and staff have been for years.
“Our goal here is not to place an undue restriction on students,” Schubert explained, “but we're recognizing that employees, we believe, are asked to do something different in terms of carrying out the mission of the institution and delivering the educational experience that we're offering." For students filling resident assistant roles, or others that are public-facing, it’s important that they “live a lifestyle that is consistent with the values that we espouse at Abilene Christian,” he said.
“We understand that ACU has this particular identity, and we're not necessarily looking to change that identity.
What we do want though is for the campus to be a safe space for all students.” Disclosure: Baylor University, Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
"Whether you can legally do it or not, we're going to call you out on it." Clements said the members of his Facebook group, now numbering more than 1,400, hope to change Abilene Christian's policy through dialogue, not protests or threats.