A Christian university in Michigan has told students that they are forbidden from raising money for a group that benefits homeless LGBT youth because to do so would "conflict" with the university's "mission and practices."
According to Blue Nation Review, students at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan wanted to hold a bake sale to benefit Fierce Chicago, a relief group dedicated to providing services to LGBT homeless youth, who make up an estimated 40 percent of kids under 18 in the U.S. who have no place to live.
The bake sale was planned by AULL4One, Andrews University's unofficial gay-straight alliance, which boasts around 80 members, but is not allowed to advertise on campus because of the school's affiliation with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
AULL4One's Eliel Cruz told Blue Nation, "Administration knows we exist, they allow us to exist, and some administrators even champion the group’s existence. But unfortunately, we are unable to advertise our meetings and events on campus.”
In an email to Cruz, AU Dean of Student Life Steve Yeagley said that the university would not allow AULL4One to hold the sale, explaining, "I think the most helpful thing I can do is to draw your attention to the fundraising policy found in the Student Handbook. It simply states that funds may be raised for non-profit organizations 'whose mission and practices do not conflict with those of the University.' I think the judgment in this case is that there may be a perceived conflict between the mission and practices of Andrews University and those of Fierce Chicago -- certainly not in their efforts to aid homeless youth, but in their approach to the LGBT issue, at large."
Yeagley closed by saying, "I hope this will be helpful. If a way can be found to serve LGBT homeless youth through an organization that more fully reflects the University’s mission and the stance of our denomination (which clearly calls for exhibiting compassion toward LGBT persons), let’s explore that."
In other words, the university would be happy to raise money for homeless youth, just so long as they're straight or being served by an organization that is trying to turn them straight.
Blue Nation's John Paul Brammer contacted AU to determine whether this, in fact, is the case.
They responded that their issue with Fierce Chicago is the organization's "perceived advocacy stance" toward LGBT orientations.
"As a result, we can and will support LGBT homeless youth through organizations whose mission and purpose clearly align with the religious mission and purpose of our university and its sponsoring church. We invite our student clubs to find the appropriate organizations and opportunities to do just that," wrote school officials.
AULL4One has created an IndieGoGo page to send donations to Fierce Chicago.