Baylor to try to charter LGBTQ group this semester

Baylor's administration are working to create a new LGBT group that fits Baylor's view on sexuality. Audrey La | Photographer

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Baylor administration is in the process of potentially forming a new LGBTQ student organization that follows the university’s policies and procedures. The group will be a place for people to have conversations about human sexuality.

Vice president for Student Life Kevin Jackson said administration has been reaching out to students and faculty to help form the organization. Jackson said the hope is that by the end of October, there will be a group of people who are willing to be part of chartering the organization by the end of the semester.

“We’ve been working to create a series of small-group listening sessions with our students to hear more about their hopes and desires for an LGBTQ+ student organization — chartered student organization,” Jackson said. “So we’re in the process now of reaching out to different students, inviting them to the sessions and then encouraging them to let us know of others who might want to be a part of these listening sessions … At the same time, we want to talk about the framework that the board approved so that we make sure that we’re all on the same page as we look to move forward.”

Jackson said Gamma Alpha Upsilon was not chartered because the group’s views do not align with Baylor’s policies.

“When it comes to any student group that would be forming around this idea of human sexuality, we actually have a human sexuality statement here at the university as part of our policy that establishes what some might describe as the more traditional view of the Christian sexual ethic,” Jackson said. “It describes marriages between a man and a woman, and then any kind of physical intimacy outside of marriage — whether it be heterosexual or homosexual — as not being consistent with God’s view of sexuality. And therefore, as a university, in our policy, we do not want to see a student group form that would advocate for a position different than that position.”

Gamma president Brit LaVergne said she is concerned this new LGBTQ group will not be a safe space.

“I encourage people that are in disagreement with this [group] to speak out against it and say that this isn’t going to be enough,” LaVergne said. “This is not what queer people at Baylor need.”

Thursday evening on Fountain Mall, Gamma held a protest calling the university to affirm the LGBTQ community. LaVergne announced at the protest that Gamma would no longer be seeking to be chartered and would be looking at applying to become a nonprofit.

“We want to continue finding allies and other student groups on campus who would be willing to work with us and be willing to share their official space on campus with us so we can organize things on campus,” LaVergne said. “I want to keep Gamma’s presence on campus known, and while Baylor is doing what Baylor’s doing with this [new LGBTQ group], Gamma is not a part of it.”

LaVergne said some people in Gamma are planning to attend the listening session for the new group.

“Those of us who decide to talk and participate in the listening session — we’ll share what we feel,” LaVergne said. “I do not believe there’s going to be a lot of people who support or see how this could be a group where it’s not affirming but it’s for LGBTQ people.”