California bill seeks new standards for religious schools on discrimination
- Faith-based colleges in California are finding the search for legislative lobby support difficult, as they work to defeat a bill that would require the private schools to offer clarity on prohibitions against gay and lesbians on campus, and to make records on student expulsions available for public review.
- State law allows religious colleges universities to be exempt from certain anti-discrimination laws, providing that they are faith-based in nature. A bill authored to limit public scholarships to these institutions on the notion of discrimination was defeated.
- The schools formed an association to launch media ads and public awareness campaigns against the legislation throughout the summer, which they say helped in reforming some elements of Senate Bill 1146.
The subject of LGBT equality in higher education continues to grow in California, weeks after Pepperdine University asked the U.S. Department of Education to amend its exemption request to Title IX requirements. Officials said that the long-standing waiver did not reflect the institution's values or beliefs of today.
For non-secular campus leaders, the notion of maintaining religious-based policies which can be viewed as separatist or discriminatory is a tricky prospect. One one hand, you risk losing the support of faculty, students and alumni who fully support these views. On the other, there is a significant public relations gamble in blocking students, faculty and staff on the issue of their private, personal lives. Leaders face the challenge of trying to take a careful approach of engaging campus and external communities on the sensitive subject, to get as close to consensus as is institutionally possible before making a decision.
- Sacramento Bee Christian colleges receive a baptism by legislation