Last week we brought the story of Anthony Villarreal, a gay distance runner who claims in a first-person essay for Outsports that he was expelled from William Jessup University for being gay. The school first punished Villarreal for living with his boyfriend, then allegedly expelled him for what they claimed was domestic violence. Villarreal denies the claim.
On Saturday, school president John Jackson sent this letter to William Jessup University faculty, students and staff regarding Villarreal's dismissal:
As you may have heard, a former student at the University has recently spoken out via the internet and in other media forums regarding his dismissal from the University which he claims was due to his sexuality. I wanted you to have the formal statement we are releasing to the media. However, I also wanted you to know that we understand that these situations are difficult, with a variety of emotions attached as to what the student has reported. If I may, I would like to make 3 simple statements that I hope will be helpful:
1) First and foremost, we are a community that affirms the image of God in every person. Therefore we seek to love and honor all people as Jesus did.
2) Second, we are a voluntary community that has associated together with a clear commitment to submit to Biblical authority and to abide by certain standards of conduct based on our Biblical beliefs. Participation at William Jessup University is a privilege and as such comes with specific responsibilities which all of us voluntarily accept.
3) Leadership in the University (at all levels) is committed to living out our faith in a way that honors Jesus. In order to do so, we seek mutual counsel and accountability; we do not operate in a vacuum from one another or the Body of Christ. Please keep the University (the Board, the Administration, Faculty, Staff, and Students) in prayer regarding these matters.
Here is the statement we have released to the media:
"While University policy prohibits us from discussing private student matters, we do not discriminate against students based on their sexual orientation. However, student participation in WJU is a voluntary association governed by a biblically-based code of conduct for every student enrolled at the University."
Thank you in advance for your prayer and partnership in the ministry of Jesus and Jessup University.
John Jackson, PhD
Twitter and Facebook: drjohnjackson
To Give Online: www.jessup.edu/giving
Jessup Media Page: www.jessup.edu/media