Religious University Won't Allow Bake Sale For Homeless LGBT Youth

| by Michael Allen

Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, has banned a campus bake sale to benefit Project Fierce Chicago, an organization that helps LGBT homeless youth in the Windy City.

The university claims that the event conflicts with the school's mission, which follows the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Eliel Cruz, a self-identified bisexual student, claims he was told the bake sale could not go on by the Dean of Student Life, Steve Yeagley.

Cruz told

The homophobia on campus can be largely attributed to the fact that, until last year, in which Andrews University had the first LGBT panel, AU has excluded LGBT voices on all official channels. Lack of education has created an atmosphere of ignorance.

There are about 80 individuals currently in the group, majority of them queer, but that has only been accomplished through word of mouth. Administration knows we exist, they allow us to exist, and some administrators even champion the group’s existence. But unfortunately, we are unable to advertise our meetings and events on campus.

Andrews University responded to

Providing care to LGBT homeless youth is compatible with our institutional mission to demonstrate God’s love to all people, and reflects our denomination’s specific call to exhibit compassion for LGBT persons.

At the same time, Andrews University has declined a student request to officially endorse a fundraising effort to raise money for an organization that may have a perceived LGBT advocacy role.

The university referred to its policies in the student handbook and added:

So, our objection was not to the worthy goal of serving LGBT homeless youth and their transitional housing needs but to the perceived advocacy stance of the proposed organization.

As a result, we can and will support LGBT homeless youth through organizations whose mission and purpose clearly align with the religious mission and purpose of our university and its sponsoring church. We invite our student clubs to find the appropriate organizations and opportunities to do just that.

Cruz's group Aull4One has created an online fundraising effort at IndieGoGo.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless:

40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT [Williams Institute, 2012]
43% of clients served by drop-in centers identified as LGBT
30% of street outreach clients identified as LGBT
30% of clients utilizing housing programs identified as LGBT

Sources: National Coalition for the Homeless,
Image Credit: Ludovic Bertron