Blogs Feb 9, 2011 at 6:02 am


SPU - is that a Mormon school?
When i first came to Seattle, I got offered a job at SPU, working for Marriott doing catering. I was envisioning planning sophisticated faculty cocktail parties and perky student dinner/dances. But then they told me there is no alcohol and no dancing allowed on campus.

Well. That was enough for me. I went to work at Westin, where everything had cocktails.
I'm not a Christian, but isn't there something in the Bible about Christ wholly accepting the downtrodden (with or without cocktails)?
I can't think of many social circumstances that wouldn't be improved by cocktails, as well as dancing...glad to hear you were able to find a job elsewhere, Catalina, although I'd imagine that stuffy campus would have benefited from your influence.

@3 I'm thinking there's a new Bible, and we just never got the memo. Something about it being Christ's mission to run around persecuting gay kids and taunting poor people for not being about to afford health care, and then meeting the rich kids at Starbucks for a venti caramel latte.
Does SPU get any subsidies or tax breaks from the city? Pass a law that you have to be utterly non-discriminatory in your venues in order to qualify. Squeeze them out fiscally.
I guess SPU is really focused on returning to the 19th century. I'm an atheist, but I keep meeting Christians who claim that Jesus was this progressive, lefty, social justice loving guy. I'm wishing he'd rain some good old fashioned hell fire down on these clowns at SPU to confirm that he is really all about social justice.

I'm surprised this is a struggle SPU is interested in having. It doesn't seem like a winning proposition in the long run for the institution. Then again, bigotry tends to be blind to the need to think strategically.
I'm guessing this is a private school. If so, it's pretty much their way or the highway. If not, then yeah, as Joe said, put the screws to them.

And another Goddamned thing - can we please have a grown-up, adult conversation about the tax-exempt status of idiots like this?
@7 I'm so annoyed I actually filed a records request on just that after I posted that. I'll pass on whatever I hear to the appropriate parties. If these people are getting any special consideration from the city it has to be stopped.
Any word yet when the separate drinking fountains will be installed?
Geez. Even my alma mater, a Catholic, diocesan university, has and welcomes a Haven group. They are officially recognized, and even promoted on the school's webpage and Facebook group.

SPU is way conservative, though. I briefly considered their MFA in creative writing program, because it is low residency and because they incorporate spirituality into the curriculum (as it influences creativity), but I realized two things: 1) An MFA in creative writing is a big waste of time and money if you don't want to teach and 2) I can't see myself at a school that conservative anymore.
I have heard rumor that Whitworth in Spokane is getting ready to move in a similar direction.

The religious schools are going more crazy as the facts move against them.
And people wonder where the bullying comes from?!?
I went to SPU. I'm not a nut and wasn't when I went there. I sought a religious, liberal arts education, and there aren't a whole lot of protestant, actively religious schools that offer that. (There are a lot of schools that were founded as religious, but are no longer active.)

I'm sure I'll get roasted for this, and I'm not defending the policy at all. SPU is a weird place. (In the '80s, when I attended, I was told I couldn't call myself a Christian and vote Democrat.) It is a Free Methodist school, and the Free Methodists firmly believe that homosexuality is a sin. The school is merely following church policy, much like Catholic schools follow the Vatican policy.

Don't blame Mr. Jordan. That's too easy. Blame the Free Methodist Book of Discipline (…;).
@8: It's a private university and doesn't receive any City financial support (why would it?). You don't need to file a records request to find that out.
My well educated sister applied for an adjunct position at SPU and part of the interview was asking her to offer a testimony about accepting baby Jesu as her lord and savior etc. She said no thank you and left.
That photo = gayface.
@15 so it pays fair market rate for all city services and receives no tax discounts?
Ugh. I'm an SPU alum from the early 2000's, a Christian, a Free Methodist, and I find this development extremely saddening. I love my alma mater and I'm exceedingly grateful for the education I received there, but agree very definitely that this needs to change about SPU. And #14 is right that the problem derives from the Free Methodist stance on homosexuality. But regardless of what the Book of Discipline says about that, SPU needs to be a place where all students feel welcome and safe. Even according to SPU's internal "lifestyle expectations" policy that all students are required to sign (mainly no drinking and no sex), there should be no problem with making a concerted effort to make all students—regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or whatever else—feel safe and welcome. If I ever get the chance to have a voice on this, I will be right alongside professors like Dr. Kevin Neuhouser and Dr. Ken Himma as an advocate. Securing the safety and well-being of all students is not optional. Thanks for posting this report.
I just graduated from SPU this past June. I'm a gay male and attended SPU all four years. The surprising thing I experienced was that the majority of campus, as far as students and professors are concerned, whole heartedly welcome and accept LGBT students. I was "out" to everyone the day I began classes at SPU and never once over my 4 years was verbally or physically harassed for being gay. This is just my experience, others may have experiences that depict quite the opposite, but I feel the administration is just trying to hold on to policy that has been in place since the formation of the school and now has no defense other than "the Bible says so" to defend their stance. SPU would rather stand on their mounds of money with their innocent Christian, God-abiding attitudes and be stubborn, as opposed to eating-their words and admitting they've made a mistake. From my attendance at Haven meetings during my time at SPU, I can attest to Haven's commitment to provoking discussion, hitting on all different views, without being an advocacy group for homosexuality. The topics and discussions I encountered through Haven were far more engaging and challenging than anything I ever experienced in the classroom. Good luck Haven with your fight! SPU doesn't realize the strength and support you guys have!
I went to SPU and am also not a nut (I don't think). Haven formed while I was a student there and at first I was thrilled that students (with the support of faculty) had gotten together and made this thing happen. I know it was a bold move for them and I was proud that it existed. I attended a few meetings over the years and they are welcoming, run by incredibly competent students who are well-spoken, wise, and caring. But, during the rest of my time there Haven was denied club status three times (that I'm aware of, could be more), and at one point a decision like the one posted above was made, that they could not reserve rooms since they were not a club. In response to that decision a couple years ago, Haven met in a common area that is open to all students. After that, SPU granted them a classroom to meet in, and that was the last I had heard of it. This makes me incredibly sad. Something that offers me a small bit of hope is that there are faculty at SPU who support this group of students, and there are faculty there that understand how important it is that a group like this be allowed to meet on a campus they pay an arm and a leg to attend.
That is one thing I will say for the school, although the administration continually panders to their rich (typically very conservative) donors (I believe this to be the main motivation behind decisions like this), I found the faculty to be truly wonderful when I was there. They were invested in the lives of their students, tended to be far more progressive than the administration, and had a sense of humor about the whole thing (probably necessary when in their positions).
I'm deeply saddened (and angered) by SPU's continual efforts to deny Haven (maybe they think it will just go away), and I can only hope that there is a change soon. For the safety of students at SPU, I hope the school takes to heart what it SHOULD mean to be a "grace-filled community."
@ 20 - you already have a voice. You're an alumni. The next time SPU asks you to donate, tell them no, and explain why. Granted, your "no" is probably not going to be as influential as Rich Douche du Jour's "yes," but it's a start.
I will agree with all those who have posted who attended SPU. I went to SPU because I expected an excellent education at a Christian university that nonetheless was open to discussion and pushed the envelope. Generally that's been the case. I'm a quarter and a half from graduating, and if anything, the general trajectory I've seen across my time at SPU has been increased openness and discussion, so this is not only a sad and wrong move on the administration's part, but rather strange, and it probably came under some sort of pressure that none of us know about. I also know that Dr. Jordan was one of the foremost advocates of Soulforce, and I am almost certain his hands are tied in ways we don't know.

This doesn't make it right, at all. The administration is doing something terribly wrong here, but keep in mind that when this choice is made, it affects funding, which, like it or not, makes a huge difference at a university of SPU's size. Losing a couple major donors (who are the main, if not only, people who care about keeping the policy,) would spell the death of lots of money to make SPU an excellent place to learn, and moreover an available place at all, in the case of scholarships.

Then again, perhaps allowing the club/lifting the policy would lead to new donors? Who knows. Every issue is complicated, even if the answer to "who's being marginalized here" is readily obvious. My hope and prayer is that the administration is open to discussion with students and the media, so that this doesn't get worse. I am confident the student and faculty reaction will be overwhelmingly against the change in policy, and that will make a huge change, I hope.
As a student who has supported Haven and observed the "club's" struggle over the past four years I can assure you that this seems as deplorable to a significant portion of the students and faculty as it does to a reasonable outside reader. I believe that this issues represents a major point of contention between the values of the student body and the values of the administration which finds itself under pressure to appeal to the Free Methodist Church and donors who tend to be older and exceedingly conservative. That being said, SPU has recently made some reasonable changes to the "lifestyle expectations," for example, as of this year there are no restrictions on students over the legal drinking age imbibing off-campus. Hopefully the university will continue to grow into an institution that reflects the values of its student body. Haven is a valuable resource that the administration is subbing at the cost of the well being of many students. Contrary to public perception, SPU is not merely a homogeneous conservative bastion on Queen Anne. SPU in a diverse(though, not as diverse as it could be) community consisting of people from all walks of life, and it is asinine that our queer community should be treated in such a contemptible manner.
Jeff Jordan, your actions are dangerous, hurtful and inconsistent with this universities so-called aim to "engage the culture, change the world." Shame on you for that and for continuing to tarnish the representation of this institution in the city where I hope to use my degree to find gainful employment. I have worked my ass of to pay for tuition and to do well academically. You owe it to myself and my peers to not foster a situation where a potential employer will associate "homophobia" with our names when they see Seattle Pacific University on a resume.
I'm yet another SPU Alum sad to see Haven still disenfranchised. "Engaging the Culture and Changing the World" (SPU's motto) has a hollow ring to it when the world has already been predefined by sexual orientation. Students at SPU understand: some Christians are LGBT, and some LGBTs are Christian. Administrators still don't understand that it is not homosexuality (as per cultural definitions) that Haven is advocating, but the equality to discuss it in a Christian context. Gay culture and Christian culture often clash, but it doesn't mean walls should be put up.
I went to SPU when Haven became a club, attended several Haven events, and was there when it was denied official club status. What confuses me is why this group of people in the Haven club (homosexual or not) decide to define themselves by this one issue and make a group all about homosexuality when the real issue is JESUS. Jesus did not come to earth to tell us whether homosexuality is wrong or not. He came to earth TO DIE. TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS. Christianity is about so much more than whether or not Haven can gather on campus. Let's stop letting this issue define who SPU and Jesus is.

To those people who feel like they've been judged or have been hurt by others because they're LGBT, I am very sorry. Jesus is the judge of you (and no one else knows how he will judge), and no one else should ever do that for him. Whether homosexuality is a sin or not, we are all sinners and therefore have no right to cast people out because they're homosexual.

That being said, SPU is a Christian university that I believe tries to base their theology off of what the Bible (the ultimate authority) says. I know that you can argue that homosexuality is supported in the Bible, but there are also distinct passages that say it's a sin. This is what SPU is basing their decision off of. They're not trying to prevent people from feeling safe on campus, they're merely following what they believe to be Biblical truth.

Can we please stop defining SPU by a decision to not support a club? Just like Jesus has such a greater message, SPU has such a greater purpose.
I went to SPU when Haven became a club, attended several Haven events, and was there when it was denied official club status. What confuses me is why this group of people in the Haven club (homosexual or not) decide to define themselves by this one issue and make a group all about homosexuality when the real issue is JESUS. Jesus did not come to earth to tell us whether homosexuality is wrong or not. He came to earth TO DIE. TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS. Christianity is about so much more than whether or not Haven can gather on campus. Let's stop letting this issue define who SPU and Jesus is.

To those people who feel like they've been judged or have been hurt by others because they're LGBT, I am very sorry. Jesus is the judge of you (and no one else knows how he will judge), and no one else should ever do that for him. Whether homosexuality is a sin or not, we are all sinners and therefore have no right to cast people out because they're homosexual.

That being said, SPU is a Christian university that I believe tries to base their theology off of what the Bible (the ultimate authority) says. I know that you can argue that homosexuality is supported in the Bible, but there are also distinct passages that say it's a sin. This is what SPU is basing their decision off of. They're not trying to prevent people from feeling safe on campus, they're merely following what they believe to be Biblical truth.

Can we please stop defining SPU by a decision to not support a club? Just like Jesus has such a greater message, SPU has such a greater purpose.
No SPU is a Methodist school.
The student and faculty population of the University represent a large diversity of Christian sects in addition to many students and staff who don't practice any form of Christianity. A lot of SPUs funding and grants come from organizations, investors and alumni who realistically might withdraw them if SPU can be seen as not discouraging homosexuality among students. Religious organizations can be this finicky about these issues. Tuition rates could go up, faculty could be let go, and the University's reputation with its largely conservative affiliations could be tarnished. My point here is that the University has something to lose and shouldn't be characterized as a lump of homophobic conservatives. What's going on with Haven might seem unjust, but I believe the University has legitimate reason to be against approving and giving a budget and a voice to an LGBT club.
@23 - True. I could say that and, for what it's worth, I will say exactly that the next time they call me. They don't have to know that I don't have any money anyway...

@30 - Of course this is a much bigger issue than just SPU, and they have to account for who butters their bread. I want SPU to keep existing and thriving, but sometimes good changes are costly. Certainly one has to weigh those costs and consider how one can do the most good, but if SPU is genuinely an educational institution, it needs to take the education of its support base seriously too and, perhaps, reconsider those from whom it is willing to take money so as not to have its hands tied to a misguided ethos.
@28 "SPU is a Christian university that I believe tries to base their theology off of what the Bible (the ultimate authority) says."

Well, this sentence is problematic. First of all many Christians would disagree with you point that the Bible is the "ultimate authority." While the Bible is an integral part of the Christian religion "it" is not necessarily the authority. The Bible, like any "holy book," is limited in regard to what it can convey about "divine truths" by the limited human construct of language. Furthermore, the political factors that have shaped the Christian Bible over the last couple of thousand years have surely muddled any "inspired" content. Take it with a grain of salt, a critical eye, and a lot of prayer or meditation. It's unlikely that a God possessing the attributes that Christians ascribe to God would stand for the marginalization of a portion of Its creation based on the inherent sexual orientation of that creature. Secondly SPU is not simply a "Cristian university" that tries to adhere to a specific theology. That's a very naive statement, if you really even believe it yourself. SPU is a business, while theological issues play a part in this case, the real driving force is economics. This is a hot button issue at SPU because of the money and resources that could be lost, not because the Bible is telling Jeff Jordan that some students don't deserve the same support and access to resources as others.
Why anyone would choose to put up with Seattle Pacific University's discriminatory policies baffles me, especially when Seattle University, a similarly Christian (well, Catholic) school is located in a gay friendly neighborhood, has an incredibly established, large and accepted Gay Straight Alliance (the campus drag show they put on is one of the school's biggest extracurricular event of the year!). SPU students - we at SU admire your bravery and commitment to fight, but when you get fed up with trying to change the minds of your immovable administration come here, we'll welcome you with open arms, just like we do for everyone, and "because the bible tells us so!"
I'm one of the handful of gays (out gay, that is, we won't mention on all the queens that are so far in the closet that they can't see past their homeschooled roots.) that attend SPU. I knew when I signed the contact (yes, they make you sign a lifestyle expectation agreement when you get accepted) that the administration wouldn't be too keen on my 'lifestyle'. However, since I've been here I've realized that there are several people who are fighting the good fight along with us. Many students (I would say a good majority) are fairly supportive of the group and are overall pretty LGBT friendly. I also have felt amazing support from faculty. (yes, even some faculty in the theology department) I would say the only issue is the administration that has been at SPU for 20+ years. With that being said, over the past few years attending SPU didn't necessarily mean that you were living in the 19th century: In 2001 they lifted the ban on dancing, in 2010 they lifted the ban on off-campus drinking for undergraduates. I'm positive that when there gets to be fresh blood in there many things will change. It's just a matter of time before Phil (the school president since 1996) realizes that he's doing a huge disservice to many students by not acknowledging an organization that's so desperately needed on this sexually repressed campus.

#28 I can't help but define SPU as this issue when in their mission they say they want to "engage the culture and change the world" when they're picking and choosing what cultures to 'engage' and 'change'. It doesn't work they way, honey.
I'm quite frankly shocked at the many comments which let SPU off the hook because being more accepting of Haven might piss off some of their large donors.

The "WWJD" bracelets a lot of SPU students (used to) wear stand for "What would Jesus do?" If you think that Jesus would for a moment tolerate being unjust to people for the sake of not offending donors, you'd better re-read your Gospels. You'll find in ALL FOUR of the Gospels the story of Jesus cleansing the temple of the money changers. (It is fairly rare to find a story in all four of the Gospels--John is usually the odd man out.)

Here are the stories: read for yourself.... (Matthew) (Mark) (Luke) (John)

If they are doing this because of pressure from donors, they are acting in a way that their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would definitely NOT approve of.
I go to SPU right now, and while I don't think that abolishing Haven is a good thing, I think I might understand the Administration's position. This is what I've heard.

Administration is responsible for making sure all SPU sanctioned activities are appropriate

They have allowed Haven to reserve rooms for a while now, with the understanding that the discussion would represent all sides of Biblical information regarding the LGBT community.

For a variety of reasons, Haven wasn't able to secure speakers who believe the Bible to say that homosexuality is a sin, which is the official view of the university.

This is not for a failure of trying on Haven's part, but hasn't happened, regardless.

This was a recurring issue that wasn't resolved by some preset deadline.

Thus, the university revoked the group's ability to reserve rooms, because they failed to represent more than one view to the satisfaction of the university.

They do not police the campus or break up any unofficial meetings by Haven or Haven members. They are simply not allowed to reserve rooms, a right only granted to SPU sanctioned activities.

Had more community members/leaders who represented conservative perspectives on homosexuality participated, Haven could have continued reserving rooms.

Am I missing any pertinent info? I might be, as I haven't attended a Haven event this year. This is simply what I've been told.
@36: I don't know who you're hearing things from, but I don't believe the administration ever gave any kind of quota or requirement to have any set number of conservative speakers, or even to have such speakers. In fact, the administration never really gave Haven anything concrete that we needed to do to exist or keep them happy.

And regardless, you note the central problem - it's surprisingly difficult to get conservatives to talk about homosexuality. At the pastor panel, we invited three times as many conservative pastors as liberal ones, and only one pastor that was remotely conservative showed up.

From what I understand, the issue isn't not meeting some quota or guidelines that were set - it's that the administration refused to give any guidelines to meet whatsoever.
Thanks for sharing the story of Jesus cleansing the temple of the money changers - such a good point! Why don't you send the same message to the SPU admin.
Many SPU students disagree with Haven being disbanded by the administration. As a SPU senior, I've watched this club from its formation to now and have seen the struggles they face. Grouping SPU students and faculty together in this ideal of "privileged, rich, homophobic, etc" is not getting to the issue of Haven being "defined out of existence".

I came to SPU because they offered me wonderful education opportunities and scholarships that allowed me to afford college, since I pay for it myself, and I can honestly say that I have never regretted my time here. We all came in signing Lifestyle Expectations. Everyone knew what they were signing up for. If they did not like what they were signing, they could have chosen a university better suited to their needs. Yes, this seems harsh, but this is what the university is. Maybe it will be changed eventually, but discussion needs to continue happening and Haven should try and formulate a better club statement that really gets to the root of their club. They are for what the university is against, so they need to pinpoint why their distinct voices are needed.

SPU is not a bad place. Each university adheres to its own rules and regulations and SPU is no different. Lashing out at the university and its attendants will get you nowhere and Haven will be left out of the issue all together if it is not given the focus and discussion it deserves.
#34 you rock. Keep up the good work.
SPU doesn't have a football team because of pressure from donors. Do I find that frustrating? Sure. But if someone offers to build me a brand new science building every time they don't like a sports team, I'll probably be quiet and take the money. I'm not comparing a football team's legitimacy to an LGBT group.
What I am saying is that as long as SPU doesn't discriminate, penalize, or otherwise hinder LGBT students, the administration may not be acting against the students best interests by putting on a charade of non-support. Because that's what their actions are: non-supportive. They aren't anti-LGBT (though their rhetoric is, but its more hot air than action), they're just not helping Haven along in any way.
Are the donors displaying judgment completely counter to the principles of Christianity? Absolutely. But whether the administration is hurting students, or just taking a very large payoff for a little lip service is a far murkier question. If the school adds more professors, better equipment, and better scholarships for the sake of denying a group club status right now... I can respect that.
The school hasn't tried to limit where the students can meet, or tried to disband the group, they've just stopped them from reserving campus spaces. Not the right choice, but if they're getting enough money for it, and using that money to benefit ALL of the students, straight, LGBT, handicapped, white, Hispanic, male, female, etc... I'm not ready to condemn their actions. Clearly, that's a lot of behind-the-scenes meetings I can't confirm, but if the only things being withheld are official status and right to reserve spaces, I'm open to the idea that the administration has made a rational decision instead of simply letting prejudice determine its course.
SPU alumni, students, parents, and anyone else connected to the university:

Disapprove of SPU's actions? Want to do something constructive?

Start by writing a letter to the administration; tell them that you disapprove of their actions towards Haven, tell them what your relationship to SPU is (are you an alum? where you involved in leadership? music? whatever? are you a donor? are you a parent?)

Tell them that you won't donate (time, money, other resources) and you'll actively discourage people from attending SPU until they pull a 180 on their approach to Haven.

That's a start . . .
As always, everything is more complicated than it appears. I am an alumni of SPU and in Divinity School right now. First, to let everyone know my own beliefs. I believe that Haven should be allowed to meet because I think that not sanctioning them as a group invites discrimination. In the debate with regards to whether homosexuality is a sin, I believe that God wants for us to be in loving, committed relationships. For this reason, I would rather promote homosexual relationships (and marriage) as embodiments of loving, committed relationships than sanction them. Nevertheless, I am somewhat at ease about the Scriptural mandates against homosexuality. It can be argued that what was being sanctioned was homosexual relationships between men and boys, which was prevalent among the Greeks at this time. It can also be argued that the sanction should be contextualized, thus locating it strictly within the "backwards" first century. I find these arguments compelling. At the same time, trying to faithfully read, interpret, and respond to Scripture is also personally compelling, causing for me to not want to disregard the Scriptural warrant against homosexuality too quickly.

I am letting you know my personal beliefs because it is important that everyone understand something with regards to the homosexuality debate: it is not black and white. There are arguments for homosexuality in Christianity and arguments against homosexuality. Both have warrant and both should be respected. SPU believes that homosexuality is a sin. They have justified reason to believe this, and I do not blame them for attempting to take Scripture seriously. You are free to disagree with their reading of Scripture and subsequent stance on homosexuality. You are not free to state that SPU is not Christian for this stance.

There were two Christian arguments raised against SPU. The first was WWJD. If homosexuality is a sin, then it seems justified to assert that Jesus would not join hands with all the homosexuals that he meets and sing kumbayah. Rather, he would try to let them know that God is calling them to a different way of life--i.e. a way of life that is not homosexual. The second was the passage about Jesus expelling the money-changers. Jesus expelled the money-changers because they were not respecting the Temple. Are there "money-changers" at SPU that are promoting their personal agendas through their donations? Yes, I am certain that there are. You will not find a person much more cynical about the leadership at SPU than me. Then again, if the issue true was not respecting the Temple, are homosexuals (assuming homosexuality is a sin) respecting the Temple, and God, if they go to Church every Sunday and refuse to repent? If so, then you could argue that homosexuals are the ones that should be expelled from the church. Do I believe this? No, but I hope my point is made.

The point of Haven, to my understanding, is both to promote an honest discussion of issues related to the LGBT community and to provide a "safe space" for LGBT persons at SPU. I hope this can occur. Is SPU helping with their treatment of Haven? No. At the same time, I do not think that a lot of these posts are helping either. How is calling SPU and their leadership effectively unChristian money-seeking bigots helpful with regards to fostering discussion?
I went to SPU too. I actually became less conservative in my beliefs after going there.

For anyone who hasn't actually been there, from my experience, there is far more judgment of religious universities happening on this board than there is of diversity on the campus.

Since I graduated a couple years ago, the school now allows dancing and legal consumption of alcohol. They have welcomed a few on-campus conversations about LGBT when other Christian schools weren't even willing to listen. So relax – it's not getting "worse". They'll loosen up when it's time. Just be patient, and in the meantime do something constructive.
I am an SPU alum and a very recent one as well, '09. I not only had roommates that we part of Haven but also activist for it. Although the school itself states that it will not support the group, many professors are on their side. I had plenty of profs that thought it was an important part of our Christian faith to accept all. I am saddened that the school and those who attended/are attending are being viewed as nuts just because of the administration. It is a wonderful school that has moved ahead in areas, such as allowing students that are 21 now to drink instead of not being able to based on the code of conduct. Hopefully they will continue to move forward and listen to the outcry from students, faculty, and the community about the decisions over Haven.
I just read the falcon article, and it seems like the central issue is Haven's refusal to adopt the university's official position. The quotes from Jeff Jordan made it seem pretty clear that he really wanted them to draw a clear line on what the group officially believed for the sake of definition and direction, but it failed to do so.

From the administration's perspective, I can see why this is an important issue. While it is evident that the current Haven leaders have done a good job at providing a respresentative sampling of perspectives on homosexuality, that might not always be true. Because it's student led, there will be an incredible amount of leadership turnover, making it imperative for group structure to be written down. Because its hypothetically possible for someone to come into power that is militantly against the university's policies, and the University needs a leg to stand on. If they sanction the group without establishing an official stance that is united with the Administration, then they have no way of enforcing order in the group if it were to become disruptive/counterproductive.

While it may seem a little bigoted or over-the-top to necessitate this sort of stance, this sort of thing has certainly happened before, and causes a lot more problems than the Haven issue is today.
I think the key thing that SPU (as well as religious conservatives elsewhere) needs to keep in mind goes back to the essence of what a "sin" is, which i most easily define as anything that takes you away from or devalues a fulfilling relationship with Christ.

If SPU seeks to remove Haven from campus because of discrimination against homosexual relationships, much less Haven's activity of openly acknowledging sexual aspects of heterosexual relationships, then they are also participating in sin-- Christ didn't teach people to persecute, he taught people to love unconditionally. That doesn't mean the official position of administrators at SPU has to change, but their response to such disagreements should be grace-filled in order to "walk-the-walk" in Christ.

I heard a disturbing statistic on NPR a couple of years ago that a majority of the young women who get abortions are both Catholic and Protestant ( With about 40-30% claiming no religious preference).
I recognize the dangers of arguing with statistics, especially in such a sensitive topic, but could it not be conceded that lack of open, honest dialogue and condemnation thereof could drive some young women or couples into choosing this option for fear of condemnation and backlash from the community that simply "did not talk about such sinful things?" I like to think that openness and honest discussions would prevent such a scenario, and I think that preventing the loss of a life is more important than having uncomforatble conversations with other people.
@43, gee, I'm guessing you're "somewhat at ease" with what the Scripture says about homosexuality because you are a pussy-loving hetero man. Convenient, isn't it? That's like saying I'm "somewhat at ease" with what the Scripture says about shellfish because I'm allergic to crab. Speaking of which, are you spiritually conflicted about wearing mixed fibers as well or do you ignore that part of the Bible like most homophobes.

For those who say SPU is only concerned with following the Bible, why not kick all students out of organizations who have had premarital sex or have masturbated, because according to the Bible, you can only put your seed into your first and only wife's vagina unprotectedly, nowhere else, not even a sock and certainly not in the bootie.

Check those hymens, people, they better be intact or no Bible Based Basket Weaving Club for you!
SPU is a private Christian University. I attended for my last 2 years. But what I can't believe is how close minded they are being. I realize that within the Christian religion you are not supposed to be gay, but seriously? Try to open up your eyes, your hearts, your minds and realize that good can come of it! I'm sending them a letter.....Our Gay and Lesbian community deserve safe places to be, to relate and express themselves, just as we all do.
I'm a student at SPU and what I find exceedingly frustrating is that the majority of the students and faculty support this club. It's really embarrassing that they won't allow a club space to even discuss sexuality and LGBT issues. My guess is that it's related to the large amount of very conservative donors that create this inconsistency between faculty/students and the policies that are pushing Haven out.
Wow. It's been a while since such a large number of long-winded asexuals cluttered up SLOG's comments.

I need a drink.
@51, I've mind if I join you? This whole things makes me sick. It's not like this is East and West Germany.
My husband and I are both SPU Alumni ('92). While we were there many of our close friends were GLBT and in the closet. We had to fight tooth and nail to get the school to allow a gay man to come and speak on a panel about AIDS awareness. Professors caught heat for speaking in even vague terms about supporting GLBT "lifestyle." The only break that GLBT students got at the time was that they could live with their partners in on-campus housing because administartors were so busy making sure hetero couples weren't having pre-marital sex, that they didn't think to watch out for happy lesbian couples setting up house in the school aparments! :-) (Go girls!)

Banning Haven seem to indicate that things are not, in fact, "getting better" at SPU.

I don't donate to my alma-mater because of this, and will be writing to the Alumni Office today to make sure they know that.
@46; Haven has, on numerous occasions (four I believe, though I graduated in '07 and was only involved as a supporter after that, so my memory may be incorrect), altered and, at times, completely rewritten their constitution in order to respond cooperatively to previously unmentioned criticism on the part of SPU's administration. Reasons for the refusal of club status have shifted over time and remained permanently nebulous (lacked clear feedback about what actions/statements needed to change in order to be accepted), despite concerted and dedicated attempts on the part of Haven leadership to communicate with the Department of Student Life.

At some point, one has to acknowledge that they are being strung along. SPU's administration has not offered adequate support or elaboration for this club to meet their cryptic demands, that or part of their unspoken demand is 'affirm that being queer is wrong' (bye bye safe space . . .).

Enough is enough; Haven has tried to work with admin, admin has made every effort to shut this down.

Alumni, parents, community members, etc.: if you're interested in joining a letter writing campaign, email:
I was considering SPU for grad school, but if this really is the case, I'll pass. I don't need to identify with an institution that treats its LGBT students this way.
I'm glad the school is committing to foundational truths they built upon. Better to stand for something than nothing. They are being firm about what they believe in, you don't see that a lot from Christians these days.

PS if you're homosexual why go to SPU? It is a CONSERVATIVE christian school after all.

I have appeared on a panel at previous Haven meetings, discussions around gender and the spectrum of human existence. What an honor to be in a place like that, where every soul there at the haven meeting was yearning to find some meaning in the complex tapestry that makes up our community. Gotta ask SPU Administrators: What would Jesus do? Because we know what you'd do.
Shame on anyone who supports policies that are discriminatory & bigoted. The stance of SPU toward LGBT's or anyone who thinks "differently" from faulty, so-called "theology" flies in the face of God as a being of pure, boundless love. Whether condemning drinking, dancing or any of God's creations, SPU's policies are excellent examples of fear-based ignorance. I hope their actions provide teaching moments for the rest of us.
What the administration of SPU doesn't know is that there has been an underground alumni organization called G.A.S.P. (Gay Alumni of Seattle Pacific), since the early 80's.
I went to one very painful freshman year back in 1979/80. A young lesbian woman hung herself in her dorm room closet. I knew her and liked her. It was devastating and it was also unbelievable how horrible how SPU handled the suicide( and her roommate!). I was so horrified but awakened out of ignorant innocence to the hate, bigamy and hypocrisy this tragedy set off, that I got off my wimpy butt, found my spine and signed up for a graphic design program at SCC. I was not at that school because of my religious views or anything. (I was not raised in a church going family) Just got in because my mom was forcing me to go to college and SPU accepted me. Didn't have the nerve to do otherwise since I really did not know what I wanted. Of course I did not fit there at all and found the christian teachings sorely lacking in truth of Jesus's teachings. I am now thankful for the eye opening lessons of the far right christian schooling provided there but I am sad to find out it has not changed much. I was aware of 2 professors at the school tat were gay at that time and counseled me as best they could over this student's suicide and the loss it caused for many and the horrible way the school treated her death. The counseling was confusing and behind closed doors (at least they did reach out to me and it did save me since I danced on this edge fo death/escape myself at that time) There was such fear there that they withdrew from continuing to help me (understandably) because of this fear. From this experience I moved on to a more open atmosphere and lifestyle that left that SPU far behind except for the lessons learned that inspired me to this day.
brain fart! I meant bigotry not bigamy! uhg
I had a brain fart and typed bigamy instead of bigotry
I'm also an SPU Alum, and glad to see all of the thoughts of other alums who have posted here. Haven started when I was a student there, and I had the pleasure and privilege of supporting the group in whatever ways I could for its first two years. What struck me most during the group's initial years on campus was the substantial number of students and faculty who proudly went out of their way to support, accept and promote Haven, and to defend the group against the actions of the administration. For many of these students and faculty members, this support came as the result of their religious convictions, not in spite of them. I believe the SPU community really understands the Christian teachings of bold love and acceptance at any cost more so than the administration that claims to be instilling these values in its graduates. I'm excited to have the opportunity to continue pressuring the administration to take a principled stand on the side of love, acceptance and justice -- rather than cowering behind concerns for its finances and reputation. Its policies towards Haven have done substantial damage to its self-purported reputation as a community of grace.
Any alums who want to get in on the letter writing campaign to SPU administrators, send an email to for more info.
Of course the heart of the issue is SPU's dedication to marginalizing critics of the Church.

I understand the need to secure funding, but the funding, in this case, goes to support such a retrograde institution that I'm not sure this battle is worth fighting. One must understand that this is primarily a Methodist training camp and only secondarily an academic institution. If you take issue with SPU's policies, petition the Methodist Church. Or just don't go there.

The academic education I received at SPU (this is a university, after all) was somewhere between sub-par and absurd. (I promise I won't ramble too much about the adjunct theology professor who was "not invited back" after hinting at the possibility that "Hell" might not be an actual place. ... And I won't even go into the bit about the statistics professor who told me that the Holy Spirit prompted the cat to jump up on the table to eat the tuna fish...and that our study of how often the cat jumped on the table to eat the tuna fish is called, "Statistics.")

There's a really big world outside of the SPU bubble. Let them have their fun. If you know better and you know it, clap your hands. Then just go to a different school. The SPU bubble will surely crystallize before long and be placed underground as a time capsule for future generations to guffaw at.
I've read many of the comments above and noticed there are many articles in regards to SPU. I have to stop and ask the question, Why does the stranger feel so threatened by SPU?
Before a student decides to attend SPU they must read and sign a contract. A lot of students find that SPU has exactly the type of enviorment that they are looking for, so they knowingly and of free will sign into a contract with the University. If a potential student finds upon reading the contract that this is not the school for she or he they have the freedom to choose not to go there. Having grown up in Seattle I know that there are plenty of other fine and some not so fine establishments of higher learning.

In the original hard copy article "The Secret Sex Lives of SPU Students" their are 10 students that are in flagrant violation of the contract they knowingly signed over the span of ten years. That's not too bad really an average of 1 student per year? Of course I realize this is probably just the tip of the real iceberg.

In the end I find that by trying to change SPU into what everyone else already has we are depriving the region of another diverse choice for the people. In effect I see it as an attack against diversity.

As a Christian I am use to being attacked for my faith and I realize that many people who do not share that faith feel threatened by it. When will the Christian population in say the Seattle area be small enough that you no longer feel threatened? 100 Christians? 30 Christians? 3 Christians?

I doubt the SPU lifestyle expectations contract states that you can not indulge in behavior that is in violation of the contract, it seems you simply can not attend SPU if you choose to do so.

My children are in elementary school at the moment and I hope that they will be able to choose a school such as SPU in the future. Unfortunatley, the way things are going they won't have that kind of a choice.
hi guys
i'm international student ,i'm planing to study at seattle pacific university
i need some information about SPU ,and what do u think about it is a good university or not ???

I agree with #68, I go to SPU currently, and we do sign a contract, and actually they are a very grace filled community in allowing a forgiven attitude towards those that break the contract. I actually am almost appalled at how liberal the school is, which I'm sure many of those who read this will scoff at. In all actuality all of the professors I have talked to in my time here are not conservative in the least. In fact, they have promoted a liberal stance on many issues lately (which is frustrating for many more students here than not). I would have to ask the same question though and ask why the Stranger and so many others in Seattle feel the need to attack SPU's administration and policies. I know that they would never dare to call out other religious groups for simply believing something else, in fact its often supported, but if someone dared to say that they were *gasp* a Christian then suddenly you feel out-casted in the community, and people will call you close minded. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe there are Christians out there who don't promote hate, and really do want what they believe to be the best for them and their families?
Abdullah, you may as well come to SPU. I'll describe it for you... it used to be a Christian school which followed the Bible. These days, the Bible is being RE-interpreted so that gays and lesbians can take over the school. Those who follow Christ have capitulated and now say that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is okay, that Jesus loves everybody just the way they are, and that if you commit what the Bible used to call "sin" it doesn't matter because at SPU we don't call it that anymore. Every lifestyle is acceptable now. So yes, please come to Seattle Pacific and join the fun. Soon we will have unlimited sex in the dorms, and you'll be able to major in Lesbian Christian Studies.

Please wait...

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