The Andrews University Board of Trustees has authorized the creation of an official LGBTQ support group on campus, according to Kelly Lorenz in the Student Movement newspaper.
With this news, Andrews University joins Loma Linda in authorizing official LGBT+ groups on campus.
This decision is preceded by an April 19, 2014 meeting to discuss LGBT+ issues in Buller Hall on campus. Some history:
At that 2014 meeting, Andrea Buxton welcomed 600 people to the event and said “This conversation is in the context of Adventism.” This was followed by a video clip with students from Andrews stating if they were an ally of LGBT, or if they currently identified as LGBT, followed by their hope for the Church to be more accepting of LGBT.
Next, five students shared their stories. One was an ally (supporter of LGBT) and the other four identified as gay or bisexual. The last section of the meeting was a Question & Answer period.
In 2015, the Andrews Seminary produced a 21-page document titled “An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care.” It was approved in a unanimous vote on October 9, 2015 after six months of preparation. This document was regarded with some concerns by individuals in the Adventist Church who had gotten victory over homosexuality and were working to help others find freedom in Christ.
Jiri Moskala, dean of the seminary on the campus of Andrews University, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s flagship university, said he was pleased with the document.
According to the Andrews University campus newsletter The Student Movement, this new LGBT+ group is the culmination of two years of research (see document).
In short, Andrews University has opened the door to engaging with LGBTQ+ students in a safe space on campus. While this may seem like a small step, it is my hope that this signals a change in attitudes toward LGBTQ+ students at Andrews, a chance for dialogue instead of talking about, and the ability to connect with and support other students. What this means to me is that my university is finally allowing me to meet with my peers on campus with the same visibility as the vegan club. Full stop (Kelly Lorenz).
Indications are that the new LGBT Group on campus will be called “The Haven” or simply “Haven.” Andrews University has been the home of an unofficial LGBT activist group called AULL4One for the last several years. They are appreciative that the University is now forming an official LGBT+ Group on Andrews University Campus.
Becoming an officially supported group on Campus will allow the LGBT Group to advertise, recruit and share materials on Andrews University campus.
The LGBT Group will be advised by a 10-person Advisory Panel and chaired by the director of the Andrews University Counseling & Testing Center.
The Advisory group will be made up of faculty, staff and students (including LGBT+ students) from across campus, with the Vice president for Diversity and Inclusion serving as secretary, according to Steve Yeagley (assistant vice president for Student Life). Fulcrum News