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