Fresno Pacific University denies students’ request to form LGBTQ+ club

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Students at Fresno Pacific University are speaking out after the school’s board of trustees denied a request to form an LGBTQ+ club.

“It’s disappointing that a Christian institution would treat a community like this,” said Justin St. George, a senior at the university.

St. George says at the beginning of the year, one of his class assignments was to identify an area of need within the university’s community and come up with a solution. It inspired him to form a club for students in the LGBTQ+ community.

“Our club’s mission is to create a safe, inclusive, discriminatory-free environment for students on and off through monthly meetings, educational symposiums and community service,” he said.

After collecting more than enough signatures from students and staff in support of the club, it was passed to the university’s board of trustees, which denied the request. They released a statement saying, in part:

“After careful consideration, the board provided discernment to the university president that establishing an 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…Fresno Pacific University will continue to welcome all eligible students who desire a Christian education among students, faculty and staff from multiple denominations…”

Although Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational settings, Fresno Pacific is exempt from that law because they are a faith-based university. 

St. George says he is forming the club with or without university recognition and is already working on establishing an off-campus meeting place.

“Luckily, we were able to create our own faith coalition with Central Valley faith leaders. We feel like this cause is too important for the university to just tell us no,” he said.

The university also said they are going to name a “safe space person” to whom students can speak confidentially to and seek support and understanding pertaining to sexuality. St. Thomas says that does not replace the need for an inclusive group on campus.

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