Wofford students want change in non-discrimination policy - FOX Carolina 21

Wofford students want change in non-discrimination policy

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Wofford College is located in downtown Spartanburg. (File/FOX Carolina) Wofford College is located in downtown Spartanburg. (File/FOX Carolina)

Wofford College is known for its independent nature - that's how the private college says it was founded.

And now a group of students wants the school to take it a step further.

"It's really not a statement on political issues for us," says student Alexander Hubbard. "It's a statement on basic human rights that we think these students deserve."

The step that Hubbard and his group are wanting to take is a change to the school's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation.

"This initiative is one that could bring the college to a more progressive stance," said Hubbard.

Wofford's current non-discrimination policy states:

"It is the policy of Wofford College to provide equal opportunities and reasonable accommodation to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or other legally protected status in accordance with applicable federal and state laws."

Sexual orientation is not listed and is not considered a legally protected status under current law.

Wofford College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Chris Barrett, pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Spartanburg, said he'd like to see the college come in line with the church.

"We believe that all persons are persons of sacred worth," he said.

Barrett said that the church believes that homosexual acts are incompatible with Christian teachings but welcomes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

"What the Bible considers important is how we share with one another, the concern we offer for one another, the compassion we show to our human being and it seems to me that this Wofford question is the latest example," said Barrett.

Hubbard said he's experienced homophobia on the Wofford College campus, but he believes that the student body as a whole is accepting of gay and lesbian students.

He's got about 500 signatures on a petition to prove that fact. On it, he said, are the names of students, faculty and alumni who are wanting Wofford's Board of Trustees to talk about the issue.

"This policy for us is simply insuring that the gay students on this campus are entitled to the same bodily protections that other students are," said Hubbard.

Wofford's Board of Trustees will meet next week. The issue is not on the agenda, but Hubbard said he's been told the issue will be discussed at the meeting.

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