The university previously tried to end the ban in August 2018.
Azusa Pacific University, a Christian educational institution, has lifted its ban on LGBTQ relationships. This is the second time the university did so. On March 21, the board of trustees of Azusa Pacific decided to expel all references to the LGBTQ ban from the university’s student handbook. The administrators will now edit the handbook which is given to the undergraduate students. Rachel White, the campus spokeswoman, has confirmed the same. The language which will undergo removal particularly barred LGBTQ relationships as a component of a standing ban on the issue of pre-marital sex.
Azusa Pacific University has a history of flip-flops when it comes to LGBTQ issues. The university on August 27, the first day of fall semester, removed a specific section from the student conduct policy of the handbook. The latter outlawed all LGBTQ relationships on its campus. This raised the hackles of Christian pundits who were soon joined by like-minded media outlets, and harsh criticisms were leveled on the university about this move. The board of trustees subsequently reinstated the ban as it never voted on removing the ban. Students then protested on campus and fiercely criticized the reinstatement of the ban.
According to Mark Stanton, the University Provost, the update demonstrates Azusa Pacific’s wholehearted commitment to apply uniform behavioral standards to all students, with university rules applied equally to all those who study in the institution and a non-discriminatory fashion. In his statement. Stanton said that Azusa Pacific University (APU) is an educational institution open to all, and the university does not state any mandatory clauses like only Christians can attend the university. The handbook, he reiterated, conveys APU’s commitment to treating every person the way Christ would have done with care and civility. He added that the university’s values continue to be the same and the APU community continues to follow Biblical teachings as stated by the university’s Christian evangelical identity.
The issue about the LGBTQ ban came to the fore last year when the APU’s student government asked the university board to simplify the language related to the prohibition or remove it in its entirety. It was at this time that Brave Commons, a non-profit entity dedicated to supporting LGBTQ students studying in Christian colleges, filed a grievance of a similar nature with the administrators of Azusa Pacific University. Erin Green, the co-executive director of Brave Commons who also happens to be an APU alumni expressed satisfaction at the result, pointing out the student handbook no longer stigmatizes queer people specifically and this is what Brave Commons wanted.