News Articles

President: No plans to endorse gays at Jewell

LIBERTY, Mo. (BP)–William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., has no plans to grant recognition to any gay or lesbian support group, president Christian Sizemore said.
“I would emphasize that our policies clearly state that the college will not provide recognition, endorsement or funds for a gay or lesbian support group. To do so would be contrary to our mission and purposes, which are deeply rooted in Baptist traditions.
“Some students and professors have been quoted in various media accounts as advocating the establishment of a gay and lesbian support group,” Sizemore acknowledged. “Those individuals are free to express personal opinions, but they do not speak for the college.”
The Kansas City Star reported May 20 Marc Cadd, an eight-year German professor who directs Jewell’s Center for Educational Diversity, planned to help students request formal recognition of a gay-lesbian group this fall.
Thus far, no formal request for recognition has been made on behalf of any gay or lesbian group, the president said. “I would further emphasize that this policy is constant at Jewell, and it’s not going to change.”
Sizemore said Jewell will continue to give support and counseling to individual students, and to air the issue. “There’s nothing wrong with talking about it and discussing it. You should do that.”
Cadd worked with a student to set up a symposium on homosexuality in March. Midwestern Seminary professors Terry Wilder and John Howell defended the view of homosexual behavior as sin, while Paul Smith, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church, Kansas City, and Marsha Fleischman, a minister at the church, advocated a pro-homosexual approach. Jewell’s president said he had received about 10 letters in reaction to the Star’s story, including one sent on behalf of an associational executive board and another from deacons of a Missouri Baptist church.
Cadd said July 6 that his original intent was to support gay students who had shared examples of discrimination from fellow students and from faculty members. These included physical threats, along with comments in classrooms and on sports teams — some from coaches and professors. Cadd said he viewed such treatment of gay students as “somewhat analogous to the civil rights movement in the ’60s.”
“They pay an awful lot of money to be on edge all the time, and I’m just trying to contribute to their educational experience.”
Cadd said Sizemore’s statement may make the issue of requesting recognition of a support group a moot point. He plans to wait and see what happens when students return. “If I’m never contacted in the fall, I will assume that the issue is dead.”

    About the Author

  • Bill Webb