Chase Martinson was enrolled at Hannibal-LaGrange University, but one semester he took a break to deal with some health issues, and when he reapplied for admission he quickly received an acceptance letter welcoming him back to school. But then another letter came; a letter telling him he was no longer welcome at the school.
What happened? Did his tuition check bounce? Were his grades not up to snuff? Did he come out as gay? If you answered #3, then count yourself the lucky winner.
The letter Martinson received said this:
"Admittance is open to academically and morally qualified students. Admission is open to students who are in agreement with the HLGU Student Life Guidelines."
The letter then directed Martinson to certain passages of the student-life guidelines, where the school's sexual impropriety — gay, of course, is an impropriety — rules are spelled out, expressly forbidding "homosexual activities." In fact, Hannibal-LaGrange University even prohibits someone from “appearing” to be gay.
But Chase isn’t accused of homosexual activities; he wasn’t caught doing the nasty with a fellow, fellow, student; what Chase Martinson did was come out as gay on Facebook, and he doesn’t understand the issue:
"I just wanted to be me, and I never had any idea this would happen. I thought I was already in, but then they send me this letter saying, 'Just kidding.'"
But HLGU is a Baptist school, and prides itself on running the school with a strict set of Baptist principles and it also offers up a "biblical" definition of marriage:
"It is God's intent that heterosexual union is the only acceptable expression of sexuality and must be reserved for marriage. This expression of a self-giving love is viewed as a gift from God. All members of the University community should abstain from behavior which may lead to a violation of God's standards on sexual activities."
And then the school goes on to list being gay, as well as sexual abuse, sexual harassment, incest and sexual assault, as "misuses of God's gift." Yup; they trotted out the comparison of being gay and incest as misuses of God’s gifts, though one is a crime and one is not.
"There's really nothing I can do. It's just really sad. I have no desire to go back to that school."—Chase Martinson, who has decided to enroll at the University of Missouri-St. Louis next year.
Chase says he has no desire to pursue legal action against the school, which is a good idea since Missouri only prohibits discrimination against students for characteristics like race and gender; in Missouri, it’s still perfectly legal to fire someone for being gay. Plus, as a private school Hannibal-LaGrange University can put out and enforce any rule it chooses with no repercussions.
And even though he’s moved on , and is moving on with his plans to enter the field of medicine, Chase laughs at the notion of the school and its anti-LGBT rules, because the school also bans pornography, sex before marriage and cohabitating.
Yeah, college, even a Baptist college where no one is looking at porn, and no one is hooking up after class, and men and women are sharing a room and a bed?
Now, of course, you can cite the argument that Chase Martinson broke the rules of the school, but my question is, is the school checking all the girls and guys to make sure they’re virgins? Are they doing internet history searches to see if nekkid pictures pop up on anyone’s screen? Are there bed checks?
Chase Martinson is a gay man who wanted an education at the school that he thought fit him best. Unfortunately, he was wrong.