We often hear that the school systems of this country are doomed, and that private interests are running them for their own ends. While there are some instances where money appears to be the most important aspect of a university, one school wanted its students to know that they take precedent.
In Birmingham, Alabama, one group of students found out just how much they were worth to their school administrators when a group threatened to pull funding if they were allowed to continue.
Samford University is a private post-secondary school that was founded by Alabama Baptists in 1841, meant to espouse Christian values while offering higher-level education.
This year, the Alabama Baptist State Convention, a large donor to the school, told university administrators that if they wanted to receive a proposed $3 million donation, then they would need to terminate a LGBT student group that had formed on campus.
Once they heard the offer, the university immediately responded.
The donor targeted Samford Together, a student group that discusses topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, saying that they did not align with the Bible's values.
“We strongly believe that the Old Testament and New Testament each speak unequivocally against homosexuality," a spokesperson for the convention said. “When addressing same-gender sexual relationships, the Bible without exception never affirms such behavior as an approved lifestyle.”
The university heard their request, and before waiting to see if the threat was a bluff or not, preemptively rejected the conventions donation, saying they would rather support their students than bend to a lobbying effort.
“Our actions at Samford, irrespective of financial considerations, must demonstrate fidelity to God’s truth, abiding compassion and respect for all people, and solidarity with the timeless ideals of a strong university,” said Samford's president, Andrew Westmoreland.