The U.S. Federal Government has granted Carson-Newman University a Title IX exemption status that will allow the school to ban gay students, unwed mothers, women who’ve had an abortion — and those who may even be pregnant.
Dr. Randall O’Brien, president of the private Southern Baptist college in Jefferson County, Tennessee, filed for the dispensation back in May under the advice of his attorney, according to Local 8 Now.
“This is who we are — our religious principles — and in a changing world we want to reaffirm who we are and intend to be,” O’Brien said.
When asked if the school’s new status will lead to discrimination against students, O’Brien replied “I don’t know how it would be. Why file the waiver? That’s a good question.”
The Christian school previously had a policy in place that would bar members of the LGBT community from the university.
“I believe he felt it would strengthen our First Amendment rights,” O’Brien said, shifting the spotlight towards his attorney. “I don’t know why something would be necessary but since he’s [my attorney] I felt we’d follow the template.”
The lawyer who advised Dr. O’Brien to file for the waiver also filed for nearly a dozen other Christian schools across the country.
Carson-Newman University will become the 30th American educational institution to be filed under the Title IX exemption. When the statue was passed in 1972, it was thought the bill would be used to combat discrimination.
However, Congress added a small but powerful provision that states educational institutions “controlled by a religious organization” do not have to comply if Title IX “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”
These “right-to-discriminate” waivers were relatively rare. A handful were requested in the 1980s and 1990s, many by religious schools who wanted to ensure they could prevent women from being hired in leadership roles without running afoul of discrimination laws.
In recent years, many religious institutions have been applying for the Title IX waivers to allow them to legally discriminate against unwanted students and defend themselves against the subsequent lawsuits.
Featured image via The Jefferson County Post