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It follows years of discussion and fits into the school’s broader attempt to be more inclusive, he said.
The student handbook will be revised over the summer to clarify that students who aren’t employees are free to be in same-sex relationships so long as they’re not sexually active — the same expectation the school has for heterosexual students who are not married.
But while school officials say their first reaction is "not exclusion but to love," Kevin Campbell, a vice president there, said it's unclear if Title IX protects students on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Further, he said Abilene Christian – like other religiously-affiliated schools – has a ready-made exemption to parts of the statute that campus leaders believe are incongruous with their faith.
And a school conduct code has, for years, said sexual relations should only take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.
Many religious colleges across the country have similar rules about same-sex relationships and premarital sex.
What we do want though is for the campus to be a safe space for all students.” Disclosure: Baylor University, Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.” asked Clements, who is now a graduate student in New Jersey and started a Facebook group opposing the change. That you're going to have administrators walking around looking for men holding hands or women holding hands?” It could, he said, “potentially turn into a witch hunt.” Schubert said the same-sex dating ban will be enforced on a case-by-case basis and will take effect next fall.But the school’s website has already been updated to say that certain student employees — those “asked to exemplify and support the university’s mission” — will be barred from dating people of the same sex, just like faculty and staff have been for years.“Our goal here is not to place an undue restriction on students,” Schubert explained, “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." For students filling resident assistant roles, or others that are public-facing, it’s important that they “live a lifestyle that is consistent with the values that we espouse at Abilene Christian,” he said.