Asking for the freedom to hire people who agree to its religious convictions – without being disqualified for federal work – could cost Gordon College its accreditation.
Boston Business Journal reports that the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ higher education commission is reviewing Gordon’s member status Sept. 17-18.
Gordon President D. Michael Lindsay signed onto a letter asking President Barack Obama for an exemption from proposed rules that would prevent federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of “real or perceived sexual orientation.”
Lindsay’s gesture “has achieved a lot of visibility and the issues are complicated,” Barbara Brittingham, president of the New England group, told the Journal:
“(The commission) will talk about the issues and decide if the issues, that are raised and what is publicly available, is at odds in any way with standards and policies.” …
If the commission decided to take action as a result of its September meeting, Brittingham said, it would first send a letter to Gordon College and lay out the concerns and the college would be given a chance to respond. Gordon College officials also could be asked to attend a commission meeting to discuss the matter.
It’s the first time the New England group has considered discrimination based on sexual orientation, and a spokesman for Gordon told the Journal it wasn’t aware Gordon’s status was being reviewed.
Gordon lost a city contract last week with nearby Salem, Mass., to manage its Old Town Hall, which includes a museum and theater production, following Lindsay’s letter signature, Christianity Today reports:
“While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract for a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall,” [Salem Mayor Kimberley] Driscoll said in the letter [to Lindsay].
Gordon could get the work back if it signs a revised contract that “specifically protects against discrimination in the city’s partner projects with the college,” Christianity Today said.
Gordon’s hiring practices with regard to sexual orientation got it canned from providing student-teachers to Manchester Essex Regional High School about 20 years ago, The Boston Globe reported.
Read the full Journal article here.
IMAGE: Gordon College