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As ICU nurse Alex Duron learned, evangelical schools do not welcome gay students with open arms. After Union University accepted Duron into their graduate program for nurse anesthetists, he thought his next three years were mapped out. Unfortunately, his plans were thrown into disarray when the Jackson, Tennessee evangelical school found evidence that their new student was gay. University officials quickly rescinded Durin’s acceptance on the grounds that he was engaged in “sexually impure relationships.”

While there is some debate about whether a Title IX religious exemption allows schools to deny admission to homosexual students, Union University officials maintain that they have the right to deny admission to gay students. Union cited the school’s Community Values Statements on the “worth of an individual,” which asserts that “sexual relationships are designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between a man and a woman” (the statements also declare that “identifying oneself as a gender other than the gender assigned by God at birth is in opposition to the University’s community values”). Duron took issue with the decision, noting on Facebook, “Did you know that Union University is not a fully private school and accepts federal funding? Did you know that your taxes are allowing them to discriminate against LGBTQ+ and their allies?”

Duron signed the university Values statement when he applied, but he paid little heed to the fine print. He did not expect his fiancé to accompany him to Jackson, and in his view, being gay and in a committed relationship would have no bearing on his campus life. He had not been questioned about his sexual preference during the admissions process, but apparently school officials discovered Duron’s fiancé in his LinkedIn profile. Although he had not mentioned his fiancé, the school expressed concern about possible cohabitation when they emailed him about their decision: “Your request for graduate housing and your social media profile, including your intent to live with your partner, indicates your unwillingness to abide by the commitment you made in signing this statement.”

Duron’s prospects have improved since he went public. In an interview with Buzzfeed News, he said he had “dodged a bullet” by not attending Union;s grad program, and after hearing about his story, nursing schools around the country have been contacting him to see if they can find a way to grant him admission this fall.

For more on this story, see the article in Buzzfeed News.

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Koren Thomas
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