Change Lee University Policies to Accommodate and Protect LGBTQIA+ Students

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On March 11, 2021, President of Lee University, Mark Walker, condemned part of the student population for something that they can't change: their sexuality and gender identity. Walker said on Thursday that Lee University needs to hold LGBTQIA+ students "accountable." He said, "The scriptural boundaries of the Community Covenant are vital to the health and safety of the Christ-centered environment we want here. Such an environment doesn't exist where we just conduct ourselves any way we want or live whatever pleases us. We will exercise the corrections that need to be exercised. We will exercise the discipline that needs to be exercised," in a chapel discussing LGBTQIA+ issues and students (1). Lee University is first and foremost a school, where students should be able to live their day-to-day life free from discrimination from the faculty and staff.

Lee University's student population is not purely heterosexual, just like it is not purely white or even purely Christian. The community covenant demands that students not participate in "homosexual behavior," which is not defined further anywhere else in the student handbook (2). This vague wording allows faculty to suspend or expel students who are openly gay just for their "behavior," despite not breaking any rules at the university. The same community covenant also says, "The University does not allow and will not condone discrimination or harassment of another person because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious background, age, gender or disability" (2). With that being said, Lee University needs to extend support to students of all genders, not just cisgendered students. With Dr. Walker discussing corrections and accountability with LGBTQIA+ students, we are asking for your signature to protect the LGBTQIA+ students at Lee University.

We demand:

- That Lee University removes any discriminatory policies against the LGBTQIA+ student population from the community covenant.

- That a discrimination hotline is created for students at the university.

- That an LGBTQIA+ resource center is opened on campus for students to use freely. 

- That a diversity and inclusion initiative is introduced that aids in diversity training for faculty and inclusion on campus and works with students who have been discriminated against on campus.

Lee University has a population of about 4,600. We hope to reach at least 5,000 signatures to show support to LGBTQIA+ students currently on campus, and to make amends for future students that would like to attend.

(1) Direct quote found at https://youtu.be/OIeVSVFv0o8 from 26:42-27:07

(2) Quote found here: https://www.leeuniversity.edu/wp-content/uploads/Community-Covenant.pdf