Wofford students want anti-discrimination policy

The Associated PressOctober 9, 2012 

— Some Wofford College students want the Spartanburg school to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy.

The students hope to get the school’s board of trustees to consider the request at a meeting next Monday and Tuesday, The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported.

Alex Hubbard says he and other students want to change the culture at Wofford from one of apathy toward gays and lesbians to one of support. Some students say Wofford students can be mocked or made to feel like outcasts for being gay.

A group of students and faculty members are working to get the matter on the agenda for the board meeting, Wofford spokeswoman Laura Corbin said.

Wofford President Benjamin Dunlap will decide whether to bring the request to the board, which will make the decision, Corbin said.

The school currently prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national original, disability, veteran status or other legally protected status in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.”

The school’s 31 board members are elected by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, which follows the national United Methodist Church positions on sexuality.

The church does “not condone the practice of homosexuality,” considering it “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church does have a policy that states the church supports “rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation.”

The college’s gay-straight alliance club circulated a petition earlier this month urging students, faculty, staff and alumni to support the change, saying that inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the policy “implies that the campus atmosphere is open, respectful, safe and friendly.”

The petition had 476 signatures when the effort ended Monday.

A number of schools have similar polices, including the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina Upstate, Clemson University, The Citadel, Converse College and Wofford University.

Spartanburg Methodist College and Presbyterian College do not include such language in their policies.

Wofford has extended its faculty benefits policy to include domestic partners, who may be of the opposite or same sex.

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