University Considers Banning Student Speech On Sexuality And Gender

Leaked documents report that Lee University is considering limiting free speech about gender and sexuality.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

University Warns Professors Not To Discuss Abortions Or Contraception With Students

Lee University

Lee University in Tennessee has been accused of placing limits on students’ free speech rights. The Associated Press claims that this is based on a direct effort to ban identity politics in the school. The Christian institution has experienced slight criticism for utilizing religious beliefs to determine how the private college addresses LGBTQ+ concerns in the classroom, but it receives no government funding and has committed to encouraging teachers and students to adhere to Christian principles. 

A rough draft of a “statement of belief” meant for faculty and other staff was recently leaked to the public and upset a few alumni members on Facebook. Within Lee University’s document was a pledge to ban sexual activity before marriage, accept the bible’s definition of binary sex, and offer counseling to students who are questioning their sexuality and/or gender. Despite the theological basis for the religious university’s move to reinforce standard Christian principles in their Christian school, it shocked reporters to learn that the school was considering barring students from “identifying” or “behaving” like the opposite sex.

As many education scandals sweep through the country, the situation at Lee University seems to be of less importance to parents and students being that the claims that it is an attack on the LGBTQ+ community are parallelled with rules which are to be applied to heterosexuals as well. The document also requests that everyone “treat each person with respect and dignity regardless of their beliefs.” Whereas some LGBTQ+ students and activists see this as an affront on their personal beliefs, and how identity politics are addressed in the classroom, there are many more college alternatives — public and private — which have not only embraced LGBTQ+ ideology on campus, but also offer a variety of classes on LGBTQ+ issues. 

In fact, this has become so common for colleges to support identity politics that there is a website that has listed the most LGBTQ+ friendly colleges in each state of the country. Some colleges are even paying for gender transition treatments and related medical expenses. Young adults have plenty of school choice options when it comes to earning a higher education. While the public primary and secondary education system does not currently offer universal school choice, The LGBTQ+ community is still commonly acknowledged, discussed in lessons, and celebrated by these public schools in many areas, regardless of whether parents agree with the content or not. Students attending Lee University arrive after knowingly signing up for a Christian education no matter what they have been previously taught. If these students disagree with a belief policy, which has not been finalized, publicly published, or even implemented, they are free to seek education options elsewhere. This is a fact that some media outlets selectively overlook, as they too support LGBTQ+ politics. 

Despite a few dissenting comments, Lee University has not violated free speech rights on campus. It is still not even clear whether or not they planned to do so. What teachers, parents, and students do know is that this Christian college is committed to upholding their religious beliefs and imparting those onto students who choose to receive an education with their institute of learning.