April 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian college in southern California, decided once again to remove a ban on same-sex relationships from its code of student conduct.
In the fall term, APU removed a ban on “romanticized” same-sex relationships, only to reverse course after its board of trustees declared that it had never approved the change.
“APU is an open-enrollment institution, which does not require students to be Christian to attend, and the handbook conveys our commitment to treating everyone with Christ-like care and civility,” said APU provost Mark Stanton in a statement. “Our values are unchanged, and the APU community remains unequivocally biblical in our Christian evangelical identity.”
While APU espouses a Wesleyan Christian tradition and upholds a traditional perspective on marriage, it does not require students to be Christian. This is unlike about one-third of the other institutions constituting the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities that require students to sign a statement of faith. The APU student code prohibits sex outside of marriage and, Stanton stated, still represents “uniform standards of behavior for all students, applied equally and in a nondiscriminatory fashion.”
Brave Commons, a student group that advocates LGBT causes, joined the student government in opposing APU’s restrictions regarding homosexual relationship and demanded that the university clarify the sanctions that homosexual students would face for violating the student code. Brave Commons issued a statement applauding the university’s decision, saying “the ban removal offers equal treatment of LGBTQ+ students in relationships as their heterosexual peers.”
According to World magazine, Chairman David Poole said two board members resigned because of “a personal belief that APU has drifted from its orthodox principles.” In a statement released to students and faculty, Poole said he disagreed with the departing trustees. Pastor Raleigh Washington of Chicago and businessman Dave Dias of Sacramento resigned in November. Pastor Washington is the former president of Promise Keepers, an organization of Christian men. He is currently the President of “Road to Jerusalem” a ministry which brings pastors to the Holy Land to better under the Bible.
APU faculty, but not students, are required to sign a statement of faith. In the fall of 2018 when APU first dropped its ban on student same-sex relationships, the university also dropped language from a statement on sexuality that affirmed that “homosexual acts” (among others) are “expressly forbidden” by the Bible. It said, “Heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships” and “humans were created as gendered beings” to be fruitful and multiply. These revisions have remained on the website.
Financial troubles are also afflicting APU. In January, it announced plans to layoff six percent of its faculty positions, according to Inside Higher Ed. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its bond rating for the university to junk status, and APU admitted that it had a $9.9 million operating deficit. APU president Jon Wallace announced soon after the financial difficulties were aired that he was taking medical leave.
April 10, 2019 update: LifeSite had stated that Dr. Raleigh Washington was the president of Promise Keepers. He is actually the former president. This info has now been updated in this report.