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Baylor, Students Spar Over LGBT Issues Group

Baylor, Students Spar Over LGBT Issues Group

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Baylor University this week again denied official recognition to a student group dealing with LGBT issues, but the students aren't giving up.

The Baptist university, located in Waco, Texas, Wednesday issued its second denial of recognition to the Sexual Identity Forum, a group that formed last fall in response to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a student at New Jersey's Rutgers University who jumped off a bridge after fellow students claimed to have broadcast a video on the Internet of him in a sexual encounter with another man. Baylor administrators did not reach out to support students, says senior Samantha Jones (pictured).

"We didn't get an e-mail saying, 'This is someone who you can approach if you're struggling with this,' ... nothing," Jones tells Waco TV station KXXV. "And that hurt even more."

She decided to start the Sexual Identity Forum, where students could talk about issues of sexuality and gender, and in November she applied for university recognition. The school's Statement on Human Sexuality says it is "expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching," including acceptance of homosexuality. Jones says she tried to emphasize in her application that the group was focused on discussion, not advocacy, but still recognition was denied twice.

"This latest time they said that students weren't responsible enough to hold forums about controversial issues like sexuality," Jones tells the television station.

Even without official sanction, the group continues to meet, and it also continues to appeal the university's decision. A petition calling for university recognition is available on its website.

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