Azusa Pacific University reinstated their previously-suspended ban on same-sex relationships, reported Outsports.
The Board of Trustees sent a notice that the school – which has ties to the Christian church – would be returning to their policy of prohibiting students from engaging “in a romanticized same-sex relationship.”
The school’s policy already bans premarital sex – both straight and gay – but romantic heterosexual relationships are still allowed.
Pat Griffin, one of the architects of the LGBTQ movement in sports, told Outsports that she worked with people at APU when the ban was lifted to help build bridges and find a more open and welcoming way to treat LGBTQ students and faculty, making her even more disappointed in APU’s decision. She added that she’s worried about APU’s LGBTQ students.
“I fear that LGBTQ students on campus, many of whom are actively engaged in this conversation [about how to make the school a more welcoming place for LGBTQ students] and made themselves vulnerable in doing so, must be devastated by this surprising reversal,” she said.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that during the ban, meetings of the school’s LGBTQ group, Haven, had seven or eight weekly attendees. After the ban was rescinded, the number skyrocketed to fifty.
Gay athlete Andre Apodaca, former APU football player, talked about his fears of being gay at APU.
“I would go to mandatory chapel and hear that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said, “and any other behavior is wrong.”
Apodaca eventually transferred from the university before coming out publicly.
Griffin said she has hope for the future of LGBTQ people at Asuza Pacific.
“After having talked with some people I have worked with at APU, I am hopeful that this setback is not the final word on LGBTQ inclusion at APU,” she told Outsports. “I believe that the good intentions of the staff and administration who support more engagement with and acceptance of their LGBTQ students will result in institutional changes that we can all celebrate.
APU is not the first school to take these steps. After two athletes came out publicly at Eskrine College in South Carolina – a university associated with the Christian Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church – several years ago, their Board of Trustees banned homosexuality from the school.