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Gordon College and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) recently released a joint statement announcing that the College would be undergoing a one year review of its campus policy forbidding “homosexual practice.”

The Wenham, Mass., College was criticized after president, D. Michael Lindsay, joined other academic and religious leaders, including some tied to Catholic colleges, in signing a letter requesting a religious exemption from President Obama’s executive order prohibiting sexual orientation-based discrimination, as reported by The Cardinal Newman Society. Gordon College quickly had its contract to use the town hall in Salem, Mass., canceled by Salem’s mayor in response to Lindsay’s request for religious exemption.

Gordon College will now spend the “next twelve to eighteen months” reviewing all aspects of its policy. At the end of the period the College will submit a review of the process and its outcomes to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education for the NEASC’s meeting in September 2015. The review is to “ensure [Gordon College’s] ability to foster an atmosphere that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds, consistent with the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation,” according to the joint statement.

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The review process will include a “working group of 20 representative trustees, faculty, administrators, staff and students,” but any change to the current Gordon policy “is a responsibility of its Board of Trustees,” according to the joint statement. The NEASC reportedly reached out to Gordon College to assure them that “the organization won’t be rushing to withdraw the school’s accreditation” should the policy remain unchanged, but the NEASC does have control over the College’s access to federal funding.

According to the Boston Business Journal, when Gordon spokesman Rick Sweeney was asked if the working group would look at dropping the current policy, “Sweeney said he believes this will be among the options the working group considers. ‘There will be a very balanced perspective.’”

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society. Reprinted with permission from the Cardinal Newman Society.

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