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Casting stones at

Casting stones at


The author donated thousands of dollars and hours to his Texas alma matter. Then the supposedly Christian university turned him away, citing his "alternative lifestyle." No thank-yous, no apologies, and no refunds

"To whom much is given, much is required."

"Service without recognition."

"Anything for Baylor."

I internalized these credos as a member of the fall 1981 pledge class of the Baylor University Chamber of Commerce--the BU service fraternity known for championing all things green and gold.

Serving in this fraternity, I grew to love Baylor and developed an enduring commitment to help make the university the best it could be. When I was a student, from 1979 to 1983, Baylor taught me many critical life lessons: People come first, integrity matters, service makes a difference, and leadership counts. Most important, Baylor taught me the value of friendships--friendships that are like family. Because of all this Baylor helped make me a better person, so as an alumnus I wanted to give back.

After all, to whom much is given, much is required.

Since graduation, I have given Baylor my time, talent, and money. For almost a decade I returned to campus once a semester to lead case studies in the entrepreneurial finance classes--sharing some of my experiences with tomorrow's business leaders. I also have given about $65,000 to Baylor in the past decade. I raised another $60,000 to endow a scholarship fund honoring a close business colleague and his wife, who met at Baylor almost 50 years ago.

Anything for Baylor.

I was thrilled in 2001 when Terry Maness, dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, asked me to serve on its advisory board. The board includes three dozen businesspeople who meet once each semester to provide real-world insight into issues affecting the vision and direction of Hankamer. I enjoyed giving back to the place that laid a solid foundation for my business career.

After such involvement at Baylor, you can imagine how my heart sank when Dean Maness called in September to kick me off the advisory board. His reason? He learned from another professor that I am gay.

Maness told the media he dismissed me from the advisory board because of my "alternative lifestyle." We know more about the genetic origins of sexual orientation than we do about why someone is left-handed, but we don't say someone lives "an alternative left-handed lifestyle." Everyone is created in God's image. Everyone.

At first Baylor's rejection deeply saddened me. I felt much like some friends whose religious parents rejected them because of their sexual orientation. My past work for Baylor didn't matter. My commitment and love for this university didn't matter. My contributions of time and talent didn't matter. Only my sexual orientation mattered.

Eventually my sadness turned to anger. How could the Hankamer School of Business, an academic institution charged with developing tomorrow's business leaders, set this kind of example for its students? What message does this send to its gay and straight students alike? It tells them gay people are substandard and unworthy. It teaches straight students to turn their backs on the gay members of the Baylor family.

Furthermore, by its example, Baylor is failing to prepare its students for the real world, where this type of discrimination is already prohibited by written policies at about 80% of Fortune 500 companies. Baylor and especially its business school should be leading the way on issues of basic fairness in the workplace, not lagging woefully behind corporate America.

My rejection by Baylor stands in stark contrast to how my partner, Doug, has been treated by his alma mater, a church-affiliated college in conservative South Carolina. Doug recently served as president of his college's alumni association. Together, Doug and I regularly attend events at his college, where we are welcomed with open arms by administrators, faculty, alumni, and students. They accept us as valued members of their school family. They accept us as valued members of God's family. All this in a church-affiliated school in a red state that's even more conservative than Texas.

People often ask, "What would Jesus do?" I also like to ask, "What would the Pharisees have done?" The Pharisees were the self-righteous, legalistic religious leaders who drew Jesus' contempt because they cared more about finding fault in others than in recognizing and correcting their own shortcomings. When I compare my rejection at Baylor to the open arms at Doug's college, I must ask, "Who acted like Jesus? Who acted like the Pharisees?"

To whom much is given, much is required. Gay alumni, faculty, and students have given much to Baylor over the years, yet Baylor blatantly advocates intolerance and discrimination against gay people.

What would Jesus do? What would the Pharisees do?

Baylor's decision to openly discriminate against me, and to do so in the name of God, is shameful. Just because Baylor has the legal right to discriminate doesn't make it right.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Tim Smith