Fresno Pacific president issues statement after board denies formation of ‘LGBTQ+ PRIDE Club’ at university

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Officials from Fresno Pacific University Wednesday released a statement after denying a request to form an LGBTQ+ club at the school.

According to Fresno Pacific University President Joseph Jones, on Saturday the school’s board of trustees considered a request from a group of Fresno Pacific students to form an “LGBTQ+ PRIDE Club.” The board decided that the formation of the club would not be “consistent with the Confession of Faith of the university or the [U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.]”

“In doing so, the board affirms its policy on Marriage, Singleness and Family in the USMB Confession of Faith,” said a release from Jones. “That policy also determined the university name a “safe space person” to whom students can speak confidentially, to seek support and understanding regarding various matters pertaining to sexuality.”

The entire statement can be read below:

FPU Board and President Affirm Their Confession of Faith Regarding Human Sexuality

The mission of Fresno Pacific University is to develop students for leadership and service through excellence in Christian higher education. Our vision is to be a vibrant, Christ-centered university that transforms California’s Central Valley and global communities through exemplary service to students of all ethnicities, cultures and faith backgrounds. In this work we are guided by the Fresno Pacific Idea, which defines FPU as a community of learners committed to a distinctive vision of Christian higher education.

The mission, vision and policies of the university are all framed through the lens of the university’s Confession of Faith, a theological position grounded in the Confession of Faith of the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (USMB), a part of which, the Pacific District Conference, governs the university through the FPU Board of Trustees.

Fresno Pacific’s success in serving all students, especially the many who come with economic challenges and are the first in their families to attend a university, is evidenced by FPU having the highest graduation rate in the Central Valley. Most graduates remain in the Central Valley, contributing to the economic advancement of the region. The university continues to be ranked at the top among regional universities in the West for upward mobility. These results are based on the instruction and support graciously provided to all students through our faculty and staff who are guided by our Confession of Faith. Faculty and staff will continue to strive to help our students be successful and look at ways to welcome students whose experiences and views differ from ours. 

On October 23, 2021, the FPU Board of Trustees, as part of its regular meetings, reviewed existing university policy in light of a request by a group of students to establish an LGBTQ+ PRIDE Club. After careful consideration, the board provided discernment to the university president that establishing a LGBTQ+ PRIDE Club was not consistent with the Confession of Faith of the university or the USMB. The president therefore denies the request for establishing the club.

In doing so, the board affirms its policy on Marriage, Singleness and Family in the USMB Confession of Faith. That policy also determined the university name a “safe space person” to whom students can speak confidentially, to seek support and understanding regarding various matters pertaining to sexuality. The Campus Life team has served in this capacity and efforts will be made to more intentionally communicate the designated person(s).

Fresno Pacific University will continue to welcome all eligible students who desire a Christian education among students, faculty and staff from multiple denominations. While the university remains clear in its view of biblical standards for sexuality and marriage, also clear is the tension between this deep conviction and the desire to show compassion and care toward students that identify as LGBTQ+ or experience same-sex attraction.

In all we do at FPU, we continue to honor the dignity and worth of everyone, as people created by God, as we strive to fulfill our Christian commitment of a caring and diverse community.

Joseph Jones, Ph.D.
President
Fresno Pacific University

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