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Abilene Christian Bans Same-Sex Relationships for Student Employees

March 26, 2018

Abilene Christian University, a 5,000-student private college in west Texas, this month banned same-sex relationships for student employees, the Texas Tribune reported.

The college conduct code has for years specified that sexual relations should only occur within a marriage between a man and a woman. Same-sex relationships are already banned for faculty and staff.

The student jobs that will be impacted by the ban will be announced in the next few months. Some positions will be exempt to comply with the standards of oversight bodies including accreditors and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Phil Schubert, president of Abilene, told the Tribune that the ban would go into effect next fall, imposed on a case-by-case basis.

According to Schubert, banning same-sex relationships is part of the college’s larger efforts to be more inclusive.

“Our goal here is not to place an undue restriction on students,” Schubert told the Tribune. "But we're recognizing that employees, we believe, are asked to do something different in terms of carrying out the mission of the institution and delivering the educational experience that we're offering."

The legalities of Abilene's ban are unclear. Title IX, a federal law enacted in 1972, prohibits federally funded colleges from discrimination based on sex. But this protection may not include sexual orientation.

Several hundred U.S. colleges have secured exemptions for laws in conflict with their religious views. However, Abilene doesn’t intend to apply for a waiver, the Tribune reported.


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