By Joe Casey
Shelby Leonard’s recent coverage of student senator Trenton Garza’s proposed amendment to the Sexual Misconduct Code exposed a long-ignored issue at Baylor: how the university’s official policies address sexuality. As a former two-term student senator, it is clear to me that Baylor has some well-written codes that affirm its many countercultural views, but no policy so blatantly fails to address reality as does the Sexual Misconduct Code.
Whether the administration admits it or not, Baylor’s student body is hardly different from any other academic institution in its cultural attitudes and sexual practices. I contend that Baylor students of all orientations engage in sexual conduct freely and regularly. When I transferred to Baylor, I naively believed that the school was unique, but it actually represents the stereotypical American collegiate environment that is so famous for being a cauldron of intoxication, hormonal urges and experimentation. While Baylor’s reputation as a bastion of social conservatism might lead students to be somewhat discreet in their behavior, it’s time for student government to wake up and realize that the Sexual Misconduct Code — even with Garza’s emendation — is so inconsistent with real behavior that it has become little more than a reminder of the school’s grand ideals.
As a consequence of the code, Baylor has turned a blind eye to the behavior of the student body. Having been foolishly trusted to abstain from sex, students have been left with a deficit of resources (except for pamphlets in the exam rooms at SLC).
Student government and the general administration have a duty to provide for the welfare of all students, including those who engage in sexual activity. As Christians, we are called to “hate the sin and love the sinner,” which means that whether or not we approve of what our fellow students do, we have a moral responsibility to help them when they fall. A transition from blind idealism to honest realism would involve Baylor recognizing that a majority of its students fail to live up to its moral standards.
This admission should lead the school to openly campaign for sexual health by offering information on sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, by providing clinics on contraception, pregnancy, adoption and healthy relationships. An institution like Baylor can both hold to its current moral position on extramarital sex and be still address physical realities and health concerns.
In fact, the programs which the school could offer do not need to simply be reactionary; Baylor could be proactive by offering extracurricular sessions that encourage a Christian approach to sex and love.
Scottsdale, Ariz. senior