Samford University, a top-ranked private Christian University in Birmingham, Alabama, announced Friday that it will not accept an expected annual $3 million funding allocation from the Alabama Baptist State Convention starting Jan. 1, 2018, after a tense exchange over an LGBT student group.
A release from the university founded by Alabama Baptists in 1841 said the decision was made by the institution’s board of trustees after ongoing discussions between the convention and the trustees.
“I believe the action taken by our trustees is something that both parties have been anticipating for some time and will serve the best interests of both Samford and the Alabama Baptist State Convention,” Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said. “Our longstanding educational and ministry relationships with Alabama Baptists have always been more significant than money, and these relationships will continue and flourish.”
Samford’s president further noted that the decision to decline the funding from the Baptist State Convention was also due to a disagreement between the two organizations over an April 27 decision by Samford University’s faculty to recommend the approval of a pro-LGBT student group called “Samford Together.”
The group received provisional recognition from the university in 2016.
“Samford Together will provide a forum for SU students who want to discuss topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. In an open-minded and accepting environment, students will find community and opportunities to study an array of ideas and opinions on these subjects,” a description on the group’s website says.
“Samford Together hopes to encourage students’ academic development, social consciousness, spiritual formation, and relational clarity, all within a community of peers who might share experiences, concerns, fears, difficulties, opportunities, and hopes. Samford Together is rooted in the Samford motto and core values, and its members strive to follow Christ on a path of learning and communication, knowing that the world will be better as a result of the contributions of all Samford students.”
Westmoreland explained that the convention advised the university that if the trustees did not vote against the student group, then it would lose the $3 million funding allocation.
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Source: Christian Post