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Faculty vote slams Christian university’s hiring policy

April 21, 2021 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Pacific University faculty members have cast a vote of “no confidence” in the leadership of the school’s Board of Trustees after it announced it would retain a hiring policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation.

The Seattle Times reports that many at the private Christian school have voiced concerns about the policy for years. Students say some were particularly upset in January, when adjunct nursing professor Jéaux Rinedahl sued the university, saying it did not hire him for a full-time position because he’s gay.

In a Monday evening statement, the school’s Faculty Senate wrote: “The Board’s decision to maintain SPU’s discriminatory hiring policy related to human sexuality, as well as its manner of delivering that decision, have regrettably compelled the faculty of SPU to pass a vote of no confidence in the SPU Board of Trustees.”

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The Faculty Senate received responses from about 90% of faculty, with 72% in favor of the no-confidence vote and 22% against.

The Board declined to comment on the vote.

The hiring policy is in the school’s employee handbook and says employees “are expected to refrain from … sexually immoral behavior that is inconsistent with Biblical standards, including cohabitation and extramarital sexual activity.”

The handbook then directs employees to the school’s lengthy statement on human sexuality, which says the “sexual experience is intended between a man and a woman.”

Employees who engage in those activities may face disciplinary action, including termination, the handbook says.