The Board of Trustees for Azusa Pacific University claims the matter of LGBTQ+ relationships was never brought to their board to discuss.
Azusa, Calif.—Azusa Pacific University reinstated the original language in their code of conduct, reaffirming their “biblical understanding of the marriage covenant as between one man and one woman.”
Earlier in the 2018-19 school year, the APU administration board removed language from their student code of conduct prohibiting public LGBTQ+ relationships.
The Board of Trustees sent an email on Sept. 28 alerting the community of their decision to restore the code of conduct to its previous state.
“Last week, reports circulated about a change in the undergraduate student standards of conduct,” the email stated. “That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated.”
The actions concerning LGBTQ+ relationships were approved by APU’s administrative board, but not the board of trustees. This calls into question what will happen to the pilot program to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus, Haven.
Last week Shino Simons, Ph.D., vice president for Student Life, wrote a letter to ZU News’ editorial team. In the letter, Simons explained that the change in the university’s position on human sexuality was intended to “reflect APU’s commitment to the biblical view that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman, and all others are called to celibacy.” Simons reaffirmed that APU continued to maintain that orthodox position and did not contradict the notion.
“The board of trustees’ decision to reinforce the policy banning romanticized same-sex relationships is heartbreaking to a lot of people in the APU community,” said Nolan Croce, a Student Life intern and Haven co-leader. “However, this recent decision does not change the fact that the LGBTQ+ community on campus is still present and needs to be loved and cared for. Along with many others, I am determined to continue to support and care for my rainbow brothers and sisters in Christ in any way possible. What that [support] will look is yet to be decided.”
“It is my hope that the board of trustees’ decision will benefit the APU community in the long run because it is forcing people to have conversations that weren’t happening before,” said Croce. “I also feel it is important to add that most of the LGBT students I’ve met on campus, including myself, desire to keep God first in all that we do. In fact, some of the most devoted and confident Christians I’ve met at APU have been members of the LGBT community. In this time of great divide, we need to remember that we are all one in Christ.”
Croce said that Haven will continue to meet every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in MMED-5. The group will no longer be called Haven, but a new name that has not yet been decided.
“Its purpose will be the same: to create a safe space on campus for LGBTQ+ students to engage in conversation and have fellowship with one another,” he said.
The Board of Trustees made it clear that their aim is to stay “biblical and orthodox in our Christian identity.” After the ban on LGBTQ+ relationships was removed at the beginning of the school year, APU received nationwide attention from outlets such as Christianity Today and The Daily Wire, which caused many evangelicals to be outraged by the school’s decision.
On Sept. 24, Barbara Harrington, Ph.D., an APU Honors College professor, wrote a letter to the college’s board of trustees, claiming, “there is a feeling that there has been a muzzling of the voices in the community that would advocate traditional Biblical understanding,” and that there is a “radicalization of APU students.” This letter was leaked and published to The American Conservative.
ZU News is currently seeking a statement from David Poole, Ph. D., the Board of Trustees Chair, to comment.
This article will provide more updates as they come.