Union University, a private evangelical Christian school in Jackson, has rescinded an admissions offer to a graduate-level nursing student after investigating the student’s sexual orientation, according to a letter sent by the university.
Alex Duron, 38, was supposed to start a three-year nursing program to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist on July 27. Nine days before he was to begin classes, the school rescinded the offer because he is gay.
“I was caught completely off guard,” Duron said. “I have altered my whole life. I had quit my job, sold a lot of my stuff and was ready move.”
In a letter to the student and statement, the university said as a Christian institution, it is allowed to uphold its biblical teachings and Duron signed the university’s values statement.
Union sent a letter to Duron saying his social media presence and “intent to live with your partner” violated the school’s community values on same-sex couples, which Duron shared on Facebook.
Duron said because of the novel coronavirus pandemic he was planning to live on campus in a dorm with several other graduate students and his fiance never planned to move to Jackson.
He added Union never asked about his sexual orientation on any application or interview. Union never explicitly stated what exactly triggered them to look into Duron’s background.
The admissions offer was rescinded based on a Title IX religious exemption the university received from the U.S. Department of Education in 2015 because it’s governed by the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Title IX is a set of rules governing discrimination based sex for any institution receiving federal financial assistance. There is an ongoing debate on whether Title IX covers discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Union University President Samuel Oliver requested the college be exempt from regulations regarding areas like admission, recruitment, housing and hiring if it directly contradicted the Tennessee Baptist Convention regarding sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, gender identity, pregnancy and abortion.
In a statement to the Jackson Sun, the university said that as a Christian institution, it has certain standards of behavior.
“As a Christian institution, Union University has standards of behavior for its faculty, staff, and students that are consistent with biblical teaching and historic, orthodox Christian practice,” the statement said. “We love our students and want them to thrive and succeed, and we believe that a standard of conduct that honors God and submits to his authority is an important part of that success. All students who apply to Union University sign a statement saying they will comply with the university’s values. Those students who fail to abide by those values – or who show no intention of attempting to do so – are subject to disciplinary measures that can include dismissal from the university.”
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SOURCE: Jackson Sun, Adam Friedman