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ACU's Sexual Stewardship Policy change is hoping to impact the future of LGBTQ students

The LGBTQ community feels like they are taking two steps forward and one step back when it comes to same-sex relationships at Abilene Christian University.

In response to the backlash toward ACU's "Sexual Stewardship Policy" change, the university made more changes to the policy, but some said that it is still not enough.

On Friday, ACU President Dr. Phil Schubert sent an email to students, alumni and staff members addressing the university's change to the "Sexual Stewardship Policy" within the student code of conduct.

This change comes as a result of dialogue within ACU's community for the last several years.

"They sought out several alumni and former students, staff, faculty, and worked throughout the summer to devise a new policy," said ACU alum Paul Mathis.

After ACU received backlash over the proposed revisions, they then decided to reconsider the policy.

Students are now allowed to be in same-sex relationships, even if they are employed by the school, in spite of the school's religious beliefs.

However, ACU employees that are not students must still abide by the school's principles.

Mathis said that he thinks that by changing their policy, ACU took a positive step forward.

"Even though there were a couple of positive moves that were made, I feel that it still falls really short of being the welcoming and open community they want to be," said Mathis.

Mathis also said that ACU is creating an environment where people that do identify as LGBTQ and are already working on campus but have hidden the fact that they are LGBTQ are going to feel like they are going to need to keep their LGBTQ status a secret.

Tyler Sparks, an ACU alum, said that he is usually not an optimist, but the recent change made by ACU has given him hope for what is to come for the university.

"It's frustrating and it's maddening and disappointing, but knowing where we were and how we've gotten to this point, I can see that, yes, there is hope," said Sparks.

While both Mathis and Sparks are happy to see changes being made, they want to believe that the university will not stop now with the progress that they have already made and hope that ACU will continue to strive to be a welcoming community for all.

KTXS News reached out to Abilene Christian University and got in contact with the Executive President of ACU's Student Government Association, Ty Kelly.

“I would say the new policy is satisfactory and is a step in the right direction. The policy provides much-needed clarity to students, while also upholding the historic view held by ACU that sex is reserved between the marriage of a man and a woman. The policy does a much better job of holding both homosexual and heterosexual students to the same standard, while also affirming the dignity and worth of every student that joins our community," said Kelly. “The most positive change that has come from the new policy is that LGBTQ students no longer need to feel marginalized for being themselves on campus. I think we have some work to do as a community to ensure we are living out our calling as Christians to love one another and include all people into our community. Overall, I think the policy does a good job of pushing us in this direction.”

“The changes in policy are a result of conversations throughout the ACU community over several years as we explore how to best reflect the love of Christ with all students while honoring biblical principles and the authority of Scripture. The university has not changed its perspective, rather, it has changed its approach, which is anchored in walking alongside our students. The board and administration continue to believe Scripture teaches that God intends for sexual relations to be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. It is our desire that all members of our community pursue relationships in keeping with this traditional view of marriage," said Schubert.

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