Baylor student to study ‘Homosexuality as a gateway drug’

The Baylor Lariat, the student newspaper at Baylor University, is criticizing reports of a course listing offered in the school’s sociology department called “Homosexuality as a gateway drug,” decrying the reports as “inaccurate reporting” and “cheap shots.”

The Lariat defends the course as a legitimate field of study and notes that the course is an independent study that is not open to the student body.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues do exist in society,” Lariat news editor Ashley Ohriner wrote. “A sociology thesis exploring the topic is appropriate by any account.”

Studying LGBT issues in a conservative environment is indeed an appropriate topic of study. Titling the study “Homosexuality as a gateway drug” tells us what the conclusions will be.

Patti Fink, a Baylor alum and prominent LGBT activist in Dallas, asked, “Gateway to what? Polygamy? Bestiality? Cocaine?”

Karen Click, director of the Southern Methodist University Women’s Center, said, “I am not aware of a similar course being offered at SMU.”

Noting SMU’s place on the Princeton Review‘s list of the country’s most homophobic schools and the fact that Baylor dropped off the most recent survey, Click said, “Does that fit with Baylor’s ranking?”

As outraged as Baylor Lariat staffers and school officials may be at the “blatant disregard for accurate reporting” that they have seen relating to this independent study, they seem to have no problem with the original thesis comparing sexual orientation to drug use. The article notes that the class name has been changed. But the fact that a faculty member and the sociology department chair approved the title and it got into the course catalog, speaks volumes about the school’s attitude toward its LGBT students, faculty, staff and alumni.

—  David Taffet

Students launch gay group at Baylor University

More than 50 students reportedly met last week to discuss forming an LGBT student group at Baylor University. (Baylor Lariat)

Patti Fink, a Baylor University alum who serves as president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, alerted us to this story from the Baylor Lariat newspaper about a new group for LGBT students at the Baptist school in Waco:

The group, named the Sexual Identity Forum, is in the process of applying to be an officially chartered student organization at Baylor, and its founding members expect a final decision on the chartering to be made before the end of the month.

Alvarado senior Samantha Jones, the organization’s president who affirmed during the meeting that she is openly gay, said she was motivated to start a discussion group because she believes the administration has not always been accepting of students with alternative sexual identities.

“I feel as though the student body in and of itself is very welcoming,” Jones said. “Everyone I’ve come out to or approached has been very welcoming and very compassionate and tolerant. I feel as though the high administration … refuses to recognize that there are gay students on campus, and they refuse to allow a group like this to exist.”

The story goes on to say that Baylor prohibits students from participating “in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.” However, the university’s director of students services wouldn’t comment on whether the Sexual Identity Forum is likely to receive a charter.

This is a remarkable development at a school where Kenneth Starr is president and where, in the past, students have been expelled for being gay.

UPDATE: The group’s charter has been denied. Read more here.

—  John Wright