Baptist and Reflector
JACKSON — Union University, a Christian educational institution affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, is receiving both criticism and support for holding true to its Christian convictions and values.
The Jackson Sun and other media outlets reported July 23 that Union had rescinded an admissions offer to a graduate-level nursing student after learning of the student’s sexual orientation.
Alex Duron told the Jackson paper he was to begin the three-year nursing program on July 27 but received a letter nine days prior to the start of classes that his enrollment had been rescinded, the paper reported.
According to the Jackson Sun, Union’s letter noted Duron’s social media presence and “intent to live with your partner” violated the school’s community values on same-sex couples, which Duron shared on Facebook.
Union received a Title IX religious exemption from the U.S. Department of Education in 2015. Title IX is a set of rules governing discrimination based sex for any institution receiving federal financial assistance, the paper reported.
In a statement to the Jackson Sun, the university said that as a Christian institution, it has certain standards of behavior.
“As a Christian institution, Union University has standards of behavior for its faculty, staff and students that are consistent with biblical teaching and historic, orthodox Christian practice,” the statement said.
“We love our students and want them to thrive and succeed, and we believe that a standard of conduct that honors God and submits to his authority is an important part of that success. All students who apply to Union University sign a statement saying they will comply with the university’s values.
“Those students who fail to abide by those values — or who show no intention of attempting to do so — are subject to disciplinary measures that can include dismissal from the university.”
Duron acknowledged that he signed the statement which contains a code of conduct students must follow. The section on “sexual impropriety” states, “Sexual impropriety includes but is not limited to participation in or appearance of engaging in premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexuality, homosexual activities, or cohabitation on-campus or off-campus. Students may not live with or stay in a hotel room with a non-related peer of the opposite gender, even if the relationship is not sexual. The promotion, advocacy, defense or ongoing practice of a homosexual lifestyle (including same-sex dating behaviors) is also contrary to our community values.”
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board President and Executive Director Randy C. Davis issued a statement praising Union for its stance.
“The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board is proud that Union University is a part of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and is holding firm to its biblical convictions clearly articulated in its statement of community values that governs the actions of every student and Union employee,” Davis said.
Union President Dub Oliver and the Union University admissions team has acted with respect toward the individual and in fidelity to Scripture, and continues to do both in the wake of the relentless negative social media attacks Dr. Oliver and Union are receiving,” Davis added. B&R