Georgia’s Shorter University Requires Staffers to Pledge They Aren’t Gay
The 200 staffers at Shorter University, a Christian college in Rome, Georgia, are now required to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” that, among other things, forces those employees to say they aren't gay. Anyone refusing to sign the statement is subject to termination.
The statement mandates that staff members reject “all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality."
Don Dowless, the university's president, said, "I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is... would not be allowed to continue here. We have a right to hire only Christians."
Because Shorter is a private school and doesn’t receive federal funding, the policy is perfectly legal. However, a longtime school employee told the GA Voice, a publication covering issues affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, that the new policy could have unintended consequences -- namely that a disgruntled co-worker could accuse another of being gay out of spite.
"We now will live in fear that someone who doesn't like us personally or someone who has had a bad day will report that... we are suspected of being gay," the staffer, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
And while students aren't required to sign the pledge, one told a local news station that the university is judging others, contrary to biblical teachings.
The "Personal Lifestyle Statement" was one of several approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this month and presented to the campus on October 26. Dowless said other Christian universities have required employees to sign similar pledges.