Azusa Pacific University has removed their ban on same-sex relationships for the second time, offering equitable treatment of LGBTQ+ students on campus, after six months of student organizing and community pressure.
While the school upholds their view of marriage–between a man and woman–the ban removal offers equal treatment of LGBTQ+ students in relationships as their heterosexual peers.
Brave Commons’ Co-Executive Director Erin Green, an integral piece of the conversation and movement at Azusa Pacific, finds hope in the LGBTQ+ students at APU who fueled the change, which offers “no stigmatizing of queer people specifically. This is what we asked for all along”.
Azusa Pacific’s Student Government Association (SGA), led by LGBTQ+ student Alexis Diaz, passed a resolution asking the APU Board to “clarify definitions and language of the ban, as lack of clarity is itself abusive, or remove it”, according to Brave Commons, who worked directly with students to pressure the university through a public petition, along with multiple email and public campaigns.
The resolution, drafted and produced by LGBTQ+ students on campus like Cayla Hailwood, a senior at Azusa Pacific, along with support from Brave Commons, was “taken heavily into consideration and used to create the new student standards of conduct”, says a source in conversation with APU administration.
According to Green and multiple sources, along with confirmation from the Provost, “students will not be disciplined for being in same-sex relationships on campus”.
With news of the second ban removal, students and alumni are hopeful, and cautious.
“This is an opportunity to continue to hold APU accountable,” Green says, noting that Brave
Commons will continue to monitor the situation as it develops, and organize for equity for all members of the LGBTQ+ community at Azusa Pacific and across the country.
To learn more about the work of Brave Commons and the Azusa Pacific University organizing, visit bravecommons.org.