BU president: ‘We need to establish trust with our LGBTQ students’

KWTX | August 27, 2019

While Baylor’s policy affirming “singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm” remains unchanged, the school “is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students – including our LGBTQ students," university President Dr. Linda Livingstone said in a letter to students and faculty and staff Tuesday.

The letter comes as the unofficial LBGTQ group, Gamma Alpha Upsilon, tries again to win an official charter, which the student newspaper, The Baylor Lariat, reports, would allow the organization to rent Student Union Building rooms for meetings and to advertise on campus.

“Beginning in summer 2018, the University initiated conversations about how we could better support all under-represented students on our campus, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” Livingstone said in the letter.

“During the course of these conversations, it has become evident to us that there are many misperceptions regarding Baylor’s stance on human sexuality and that there is more we can do to support our LGBTQ students,” she wrote.

“Additionally, we have found, as you might imagine, that this extremely complex issue evokes a wide range of strong emotions and interpretations both within and beyond the Christian community.”

The university unveiled a webpage on Tuesday that includes the university’s Statement on Human Sexuality as well as the school’s sexual conduct policy.

The university does not discipline or expel students for same-sex attraction, but does provide resources for LGBTZ students through the Title IX Office, Bias Response Team, Chaplain’s Office and Spiritual Life and the Counseling Center, Livingstone said in the letter.

Counselors don’t practice or condone conversion therapy, she said.

“With this said, we understand that we must do more to demonstrate love and support for our students who identify as LGBTQ,” Livingstone said.

“A common theme emerging from all of the aforementioned conversations is the need for us to provide more robust and more specific training for students, faculty and staff in loving, caring for and supporting our LGBTQ students,” she said.

“It also became clear that we need to provide additional opportunities for our University community to listen to each other and discuss such matters in a civil, academic and supportive environment, as they are important to our faith and society. And, perhaps most importantly, we need to establish trust with our LGBTQ students so that, among other things, they might seek out the resources provided by Baylor, all of which must be done as a faithful expression of our Christian mission.”