Dear Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
Over the past several months, an increased number of questions have been raised regarding Baylor University’s stance on human sexuality and the support we provide our students who identify as LGBTQ. At the outset of this letter, let me be crystal clear: Baylor is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students – including our LGBTQ students – because it is part and parcel of our University’s mission that calls us to educate our students within a caring community.
Beginning in Summer 2018, the University initiated conversations about how we could better support all under-represented students on our campus, including those who identify as LGBTQ. These various and numerous conversations have included discussions with the Board of Regents, other Christian college and university presidents and organizations, researchers, our Deans, and several faculty and student leaders. During the course of these conversations, it has become evident to us that there are many misperceptions regarding Baylor’s stance on human sexuality and that there is more we can do to support our LGBTQ students. Additionally, we have found, as you might imagine, that this extremely complex issue evokes a wide range of strong emotions and interpretations both within and beyond the Christian community.
Today we have launched a webpage that includes Baylor’s Statement on Human Sexuality as well as our sexual conduct policy and related procedures. As indicated in this statement, “The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.” While the University’s policy — as established by the Board of Regents — remains unchanged, the webpage includes several frequently asked questions on this important matter.
In order to provide additional clarity, I would like to set forth a few facts:
With this said, we understand that we must do more to demonstrate love and support for our students who identify as LGBTQ. A common theme emerging from all of the aforementioned conversations is the need for us to provide more robust and more specific training for students, faculty and staff in loving, caring for and supporting our LGBTQ students. It also became clear that we need to provide additional opportunities for our University community to listen to each other and discuss such matters in a civil, academic and supportive environment, as they are important to our faith and society. And, perhaps most importantly, we need to establish trust with our LGBTQ students so that, among other things, they might seek out the resources provided by Baylor – all of which must be done as a faithful expression of our Christian mission.
Meanwhile, as we begin the fall semester, we pledge to continue these ongoing conversations with faculty, students, staff, alumni and members of our LGBTQ community and to provide support for all of our students in keeping with Baylor’s Christian mission. We are all part of the Baylor Family and are called by Christ to love one another.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.