Gordon College faculty senate resigns over school’s anti-LGBT policy

Gordon College,Wenham,Massachusetts
Gordon College, a small evangelical school in Wenham, Massachusetts, forbids faculty, staff and students from "homosexual practice" on campus and off.

At Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, no one is permitted to come out of the closet — not students, not staff and not faculty. “Homosexual practices,” both on and off campus, are forbidden.

Last Wednesday, all seven members of Gordon’s faculty senate resigned in solidarity with former Gordon sociology assistant professor Margaret DeWeese-Boyd, who filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination that the college’s president and provost turned down her promotion to full professor because she criticized the policy.

The school’s faculty senate had unanimously recommended DeWeese-Boyd’s promotion, along with the promotion of at least one other professor who spoke out in support of gay rights on a separate occasion. Both recommendations were denied.

According to an April 9 Boston Globe report:

Paul Miller, a 2008 alumnus who help found OneGordon, a group that promotes gay rights on campus, says the professors who resigned from the Senate may hold varying views on the school’s policy on same-sex relationships. But the action, he said, was further indication of the faculty’s frustration with what he called Lindsay’s top-down management style. …

Gordon, home to 1,600 students, has been struggling with gay rights since 2014, when Lindsay and 13 religious leaders asked President Obama for an exemption from a planned executive order banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation.

The group argued the ban would “come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity, and religious freedom.”

But many faculty, students, and alumni denounced the request as discriminatory, and an online petition condemning it garnered more than 3,000 signatures.

Salem officials responded by ending a contract that allowed Gordon to manage the city’s Old Town Hall, and the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee voted to move the high school’s graduation ceremony off Gordon’s campus.

Last year, Lauren Barthold, a philosophy professor at Gordon, sued the college, alleging that Lindsay and the board of trustees retaliated against her after she wrote a letter to the Salem News and was quoted in a Globe article criticizing Lindsay’s request to Obama.

Barthold alleged that, after threatening to fire her, the college denied her right to apply for a promotion and removed her as director of the gender studies minor.

Under the terms of a settlement reached last year, Barthold agreed to resign from the college, after completing a previously awarded research fellowship at the University of Connecticut.