Shorter University in Georgia has lost more than 60 members of its staff, after implementing a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” to its contract.
The 139-year-old university said in the contract that:
“Failure to adhere to this statement may result in disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination.”
According to Inside Higher Ed, before the amended contracts were even sent out to staff members, more than 50 had tendered their resignations.
After they were delivered, Michael Wilson, a 14-year staff member and librarian, effectively ended his tenure with the university, after signing the contract, but crossing out:
“I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”
The contracts require faculty to reject homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, drug use, and drinking in public near the Shorter University campus in Rome, Georgia. The agreement also requires faculty to be active members of a nearby church.
AOL reports that the university released a statement, saying:
“Through our policies, we seek to honor Jesus Christ. We understand that there are those who do not agree with our beliefs. We are not trying to undermine their right to those beliefs, but want to be transparent about our own.”
Before the contracts were released, Wilson fully intended to be one of the 12% staff members who would remain at Shorter University following the contract changes. After reading the wording, however, he states he will be forced out. Why? Because Wilson is gay. He stated of the contract that:
“I’m a pretty quiet person. But I perceive this as a great injustice.”
According to Inside Higher Ed, the group Save Our Shorter believes that this step is just one more thing that the Georgia Baptist Convention is doing to the school to assert its control. Steps like this have been taking place over the last six years, and alumni, as well as some school officials, worry about what will happen to the university.