Alex Blaze

Colleges Discriminate, but Will Be Subsidized by Federal Government

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 16, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: pledge, students, study, title ix, university, Westmont College

I read a story this morning about something we don't hear much about: homosexuality bans on college campuses. Westmont College in California apparently has a banwestmont.jpg, and alumni and faculty are speaking out against it:

"I was terrified that I'd be found out as someone dating a woman and that I'd be expelled," said Durkee, who went on to Yale Law School and a New York law firm.

Durkee is one of 31 gay and lesbian Westmont alumni who earlier this month roiled the Christian college in Montecito with an open letter in the college newspaper that spoke of the "doubt, loneliness and fear" they felt on a campus where homosexuality is taboo.

More than 100 fellow alumni signed on in support, and last week, 50 of Westmont's 92 faculty members responded to them in a sympathetic letter seeking "forgiveness for ways we might have added to your pain."

The college explicitly prohibits homosexuality on campus, making students sign a pledge not to be gay:

The college will not condone practices that Scripture forbids. Such activities include occult practices, sexual relations outside of marriage, homosexual practice, drunkenness, theft, profanity, and dishonesty. Westmont also recognizes that Scripture condemns "sins of the spirit" such as covetousness, jealousy, pride, and lust. By their very nature, these sins are more difficult to discern. Because they lie at the heart of the relationship between the individual and God they are of central concern to the Westmont community.

The LA Times article on the alumni and faculty letter discusses how some Christians are against homosexuality, some aren't, etc. That question is interesting, but it's besides the point. Why are they allowed to discriminate and receive federal funding?

That's a bigger question, but discrimination in higher education based on race was banned in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and discrimination based on sex was banned by Title IX. If an educational institution receives federal funding (Westmont is one of them), which almost all of them do because the bulk of student financial aide comes from the federal government, then they aren't allowed to discriminate.

Except when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, then colleges can discriminate all they want and send the federal government the bill. But I'm also surprised that there isn't a ban on this sort of discrimination in California state law, since the state also gives financial aide at Westmont. Isn't that supposed to be the most progressive, gay-friendly state with everything but the word marriage?

I wouldn't expect much from the federal government, otherwise. With Democratically controlled House, Senate, and White House and massive support from the American people, they couldn't even pass LGBT employment anti-discrimination protections. More students will keep on signing that pledge at 18, making college by 22 unbearable.

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The answer to your question is simple. These colleges ban homosexual behavior, not homosexuals. It's the same policy as that of the Catholic Church.

That answer is simplistic, as opposed to simple. The pledge bans "homosexual practice". What exactly does that mean? The intention seems to be broader than "homosexual genital contact". Does it include same-sex kissing? Or (in light of the Biblical injunction to greet one-another with a kiss) same-sex kissing with tongue? One thing I would imagine their "homosexual practice" to include is cross dressing.

But all those examples lead us to a more important question: what is a homosexual sans "homosexual practice"? A sequin here, a sassy finger-snap there could all be labelled as "homosexual practice".

Every one sometime in their lives at least imagines briefly what a homosexual encounter might be like. The potential exists in a humans, and can be brought to the surface with a bit of stress like a long single-sex sea voyage or prison sentence. What makes a 'homosexual' except adopting some kind of discernable queerness? Some kind of "practice". Is there any doubt that a celebate student who advocates for homosexual rights, openly discusses her 'deep longing' for a relationship with someone of the same gender, and collects soft homoerotic porn on her computer wouldn't be expelled for 'homosexual practice'?

No dear responder. These colleges ban, stigmatize and denigrate homosexuals, not just homosexual behavior

And the Catholic Church isn't getting the federal government to capitalize and back loans so people can attend its services.

No, but their massive empire, including all its earning, *is* tax-exempt. I don't understand why religious orgs are exempt, except for any charitable work they do. And for the CC, they directly interfere in politics and policy, so I *really* don't understand it. They should really fall under 501(3)(d), and be taxed as a group that is directly involved in politics.

Indeed. Although then, if we're talking about tax breaks for churches, then they can discriminate against any group and still get that money.

It's worse, but at least it's more straight-forward.

501(3)(d)s are not tax-exempt; that is why they are differentiated from 501(3)(c)s in the tax code; 501(3)(c) groups cannot be directly involved with influencing laws or policy.

oops, had it a little confused...looked it up, should be 501(c)(3) versus 501(c)(4)

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual sex is a sin, not homosexuals. It is similar to the policy adopted by Westnomt College.

I try not to be judgemental without some background information, so someone please tell me... If you're L, G, B, and or T, why would you go to a college that bans "homosexual practice?" The only reason I can think of is if your parents refuse to pay for anything else, in which case you probably have a lot bigger problems than your college's policies.

Scholarships, close to home, family pressure, indoctrination you may be questioning but aren't quite over, many others.

Lots of ppl get away from home and the gay-hostile environment they lived in and accept themselves and come out in college.