A private Christian University in Cleveland, Tennessee is considering a proposal to limit their students’ free speech on gender and banning sex between unmarried heterosexual couples.
According to the Associated Press, Lee University school presented it’s “Statement of Beliefs Concerning Human Sexuality and Gender” to faculty and staff this month. If approved it will not only ban students from identifying as anything other than their biological sex, it will also prohibit them from questioning the university about these restrictions or any other policy implemented at the school.
According to the draft of the policy, “no member of the Lee University community may publicly identify or behave as a gender that does not correspond to his or her biological sex.”
The policy also states that “no member of the Lee University community may promote or advocate, in person, in writing, or online, for sexual acts, behaviors or lifestyles that are contrary to Scripture, this statement of belief, or any other university policy.”
Additionally, the policy also forbids unmarried heterosexual couples from having sex.
Former and current students criticized the proposal saying it is not right for the university to preach love and inclusivity and not practice it.
“I feel like this is just their last ditch effort to try to, at the very least, scare students into silence, hence why a lot of the policies within the statement are about advocacy and what you can and cannot say on public platforms in support of LGBTQ+ students and people,” Taylor Lane, a lesbian who left the school in December said.
The Affirming Alum Collective, a group of alumni from the university also criticized the proposal on Facebook saying that they were “deeply saddened and frustrated by the new anti-LGBTQIA+ policies” under consideration.
“It is a Christian institution, so I understand the beliefs they have, but it should still be a place of like community and love no matter what, because we are Christians. And as Christians, we’re supposed to love one another,” current student Bethany Robinson said.
The university’s spokesperson Kendra Mann said the policy is in line with long-standing theological beliefs and that it has been in the works for years.
The school was hoping to get more feedback on the policy before publishing it before fall semester begins.
Though federal law bans discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity for education programs receiving federal funds, religious institutions are exempt if those protections interfere with the religious tenets of the organization, according to the U.S. Department of Education.