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Shorter University’s ‘Anti-Gay’ Pledge Causes More Than 60 Faculty To Resign

Shorter University

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.

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14 Responses to “Shorter University’s ‘Anti-Gay’ Pledge Causes More Than 60 Faculty To Resign”

  1. Royjohan Elliot

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  2. John Kieffer

    Even though this private college, excuse me, “university,” which is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, has the “right” to require such employment standards, it is just one more sad step in the polarization of our country: creating an “us” versus “them” society.

    But maybe a quick history lesson might be provide a moment of pause. Nazi Germany also proceeded down a similar “us” versus “them” path, identifying not only Jews as their “them” but gays as well. In the beginning, just like Shorter “University,” German universities and colleges also proceeded to deny “them” (both Jews and gays) employment and … well, those at Shorter “University” surely know ‘the rest of the story.’ And maybe for the Shorter folks, that 'rest of the story’ isn’t all that bad of an ending.

  3. John Kieffer

    But on the other hand, they're offering this course in evolutionary biology. Huh??? I'd really like to have a conversation with these administrators to try to understand how they resolve such inconsistencies/conflicts between their hard core fundamentalist worldview and their offering of such a course that invalidates the essential, founding paradigm of their belief.

    BIO 4340. EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (3). A comprehensive introduction to the field of evolutionary biology as the central unifying theme in Biology. Topics covered will include the historical development of evolutionary theory, evidence of evolution, Darwinian natural selection, microevolutionary and macroevolutionary patterns of change, adaptation, speciation, sexual selection, kin selection and life-history evolution. It also examines the applications of evolutionary biology to conservation biology and medicine. Prerequisite: Senior standing and BIO 2040, 2060, 3060 and 4140 or permission from the instructor. (3 hours of lecture per week)

    re: http://www.shorter.edu/academics/natural_sciences/course_descriptions.htm#biology

  4. Erik Crouch

    Yeah, I think we'll be reading about this institution closing in a few years (if it even takes that long).. 60 faculty down is enough to have to cancel half your classes, if not more. Esp if they were key people.

  5. Aaron Hall

    The entire *point* of some higher-education institutions is to be that intolerant.

  6. Erik Crouch

    Sounds like an illegal contact anyway, you can't force someone to attend or be members of a "nearby church" as part of your employment contract. That's beyond the point of illegal, even on Georgia.. and if it isn't well it damn well should be. Not just ilegal, but illegal discrimination…

  7. Peyton Creadick

    Erik: They're in Georgia. They haven't signed their death warrant. This is a conservative state. Also, it's a private Baptist university. It's not a public institution.

  8. Michael Brunswick

    People of faith have an obligation to present themselves as followers of Christ not the immoral lifestyles of non beleiving individuals. They are just practicing what they preach. You cannot ride the fence when it comes to teachings of Christ. This is a faith based instituion that has followed their beleifs in the teachings of Christ in not condoning the practices of an immoral society. Too many people have chosen to use Civil rights as an arguement for their lifestyle but to use this as their base is irresonsible at best and in no way comes close in comparison. Civil rights were about people being born with traits such as skin color and sexuality. Homosexuals have never proven that their tendancies are driven through genetic makeup. Therefore it is a choice and a self destructive one at that.

  9. Piledriver Peterson

    I don't speak for this religious university, but I will say that a formal policy regarding sexual mores and other behavioral standards is not entirely religious in nature. Same goes for other aspects of puritanical custom which have come to be associated with religion. It is more than anything about promoting a social standard, with the belief that the defined environment is beneficial to the members of that society. I know that probably irks anyone who believes there should be no social standards, but then, if it bothers you at all then this is not YOUR environment… you can go anywhere else you like besides those places that require adherence to those norms and do whatever you want. Even establish a society that adheres to your own behavioral norms and remove the source of your own frustrations from your own environment.

    We do not all agree that perpetual tolerance of irritating behavior is somehow good for people. Assuming you aren't a gung-ho evangelical, would you want to be forced to cohabitate with an absurdly quaffed, boisterous TBN Evangelist? If you were a student, would you like to have that same human cartoon teaching a class you have to attend, and whose judgment determined your grade? Would you even want to rely on the judgment of the quiet, passive-aggressive evangelical professor enduring in an environment hostile to his beliefs? All rhetorical questions, as any affirmative answer would be a LIE.

    It is despicable for citizens to demand government interference in such things, forcing other citizens to hire, serve, or commingle with anyone whose behavior conflicts with their standards. That is using the legal system to enforce your own brand of bigotry, whether you have the capacity to see it or not. And before you go there: equating behavior to race is incredibly insulting, as well as idiotic.

  10. Piledriver Peterson

    I don't speak for this religious university, but I will say that a formal policy regarding sexual mores and other behavioral standards is not entirely religious in nature. Same goes for other aspects of puritanical custom which have come to be associated with religion. It is more than anything about promoting a social standard, with the belief that the defined environment is beneficial to the members of that society. I know that probably irks anyone who believes there should be no social standards, but then, if it bothers you at all then this is not YOUR environment… you can go anywhere else you like besides those places that require adherence to those norms and do whatever you want. Even establish a society that adheres to your own behavioral norms and remove the source of your own frustrations from your own environment.

    We do not all agree that perpetual tolerance of irritating behavior is somehow good for people. Assuming you aren't a gung-ho evangelical, would you want to be forced to cohabitate with an absurdly quaffed, boisterous TBN Evangelist? If you were a student, would you like to have that same human cartoon teaching a class you have to attend, and whose judgment determined your grade? Would you even want to rely on the judgment of the quiet, passive-aggressive evangelical professor enduring in an environment hostile to his beliefs? All rhetorical questions, as any affirmative answer would be a LIE.

    It is despicable for citizens to demand government interference in such things, forcing other citizens to hire, serve, or commingle with anyone whose behavior conflicts with their standards. That is using the legal system to enforce your own brand of bigotry, whether you have the capacity to see it or not. And before you go there: equating behavior to race is incredibly insulting, as well as idiotic.