ABILENE, TX —
Months after Abilene Christian University battled claims of racism on campus, the school is back in the headlines. This time, after a staff member says she was forced to either end her same-sex relationship or leave campus immediately.
In an open editorial with the Abilene Reporter, former associate director for residential life, Jenny Boyer says, the school’s policy on LGBT+ rights are leaving students feeling alone and abandoned by their university.
“More than any other time, it felt like the right and honorable thing to do to step out,” says Boyer, who after eight years with ACU left her post in June.
Boyer says that she felt compelled to hide her relationship given ACU’s values and policies. But she says there’s been a long-standing tradition of refusing employment to LGBT members. She recalls an event during her second-year on staff.
“There was a very well-known, credible man that we really wanted to hire in residence life, and it became a huge conversation that I got to be a part of because we were not able to hire him,” says Boyer.
She writes: “Here is the part where I tell you that this is about the recent LGBT policies at ACU. I trust you can look them up if you feel uninformed. Except that to me, they are not recent at all."
Boyer says it didn’t take long for her to work with the LGBT+ community on campus. It wasn’t until then and her recent same-sex relationship did she understand why students choose to keep quiet about their sexual identity.
“I wholeheartedly understand the reasoning to be really careful and mindful and hidden with your story because there’s a lot of great stuff on campus that students, faculty and staff want to be able to do.”
However, Boyer still encourages students to find sanctuary with themselves to live a more authentic life.
“Try to find ways you can to share your story. There are so many safe people at the university. A lot of avenues to still somehow share your story and share your experience while still maybe having to keep it hidden.”