Baylor U. Remains Silent

Randy Potts

May 6th, 2013

Yesterday, Brittney Griner, out lesbian basketball player and current student of Baylor University, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about being gay and also produced this video to say “it gets better.”  I’m having a difficult time here, trying to remember if there has ever been a current student of an anti-gay Christian college who has come out so publicly and faced no punishment.  The Catholic Church has shown no such tolerance — this week even the Methodists are putting a retired minister on trial for officiating at his son’s wedding to a man.  And Baylor, with Ken Starr at the helm, so far, remains silent while Griner puts herself out there in as public a way as possible as openly gay.  Is she baiting Baylor with this video?

It seems obvious that there will be a time when the parents of students at evangelical colleges will no longer stand for the current anti-gay status quo on campus.  It seems clear that there will be a day when being seen as too anti-gay will hurt funding.  But surely we aren’t there yet?

I’m stunned.

Steve

May 6th, 2013

It’s solely because she is a sports star. If she weren’t, she’d be punished. First off, normal rules just don’t apply to jocks. Second, they don’t really want the negative publicity due to her prominence. If she were a nobody they could deal with her quietly.

Marilyn

May 6th, 2013

Me too! As an Baylor alumni, I’m waiting to see what happens. What bravery!

TampaZeke

May 6th, 2013

It’s amazing how maliable Christian morals can be when fame and fortune are on the line.

Randy, I didn’t realize you had come on board at BTB as a writer. Welcome! I’ve enjoyed reading your amazing story and look forward to hearing your thoughts on issues of the day. Your joining an amazing team here.

TampaZeke

May 6th, 2013

Wow, believe it or not I have other adjectives besides “amazing” in my vocabulary.

TampaZeke

May 6th, 2013

…and I know how to spell “malleable”. It’s been one of those days!

Markanthony

May 6th, 2013

There are alot of different types of catholic/Christian schools that expect different things from their students. All of the major Catholic universities have student sponsored GLBT clubs. I’m not familiar with Baylor but I’ve always gotten the impression it’s culture is more like like Boston College or ND than like Liberty or BYU.

@mariyln as an alumni, what was the culture like there?

Randy Potts

May 6th, 2013

Thanks TampaZeke, very honored to be able to write for BTB. As to Baylor, my impression from friends who went there is that students who come out have been kicked out as recently as 5 years ago (I only have anecdotal evidence of this but it seems consistent with their stance on the “gay question.”)

jpeckjr

May 6th, 2013

The modern university — and Baylor is a modern university, not a fundamentalist Bible college — has an aversion to controversy.

Saying something, even something supportive, would increase the possibility of controversy. So, what if Baylor has decided to remain silent, to say nothing about a student’s private life, any student’s private life? What if Baylor has decided it is in Baylor’s best interest to be quiet?

Everyone seems disappointed they have not punished her. Why? Don’t we really want them to leave her alone? Randy, what if, at least in this case, we are there yet?

And to the assertion it is because she is a sports star, will someone find a case in the last 10 years when Baylor expelled a student, or publicly condemned a student, for being openly gay?

customartist

May 6th, 2013

The prospect of losing funding due to being too anti-gay has certainly had an effect on the Boy Scouts

TomTallis

May 6th, 2013

It’s at least in part because of Baylor University that Molly Ivins consistently referred to Waco as “the Vatican City of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

My guess is that they will wait until it all dies down, and then can her.

TomTallis

May 6th, 2013

BTW, welcome to BTB. My husband and I are friends of the Leffews and we met you at Skywalker Ranch at the screening of “A Right to Love.” My husband wrote the music.

JB

May 6th, 2013

@jpeckjr: In the past ten years, Baylor has removed a gay alumnus from the advisory board of its business school, revoked the scholarship of a gay student at its theological school–effectively if not actually expelling him–and charged an undergraduate student with misconduct for organizing a gay rights rally. They have refused to recognize gay student groups. They ordered their campus Starbucks stores to pull coffee cups with a gay supportive message. Just seven years ago, a lesbian player left the women’s basketball team in part because of fear due to the anti-LGBT climate. Baylor may be a “modern university,” but it rivals the best fundamentalist Bible colleges for its homophobia.

So yes, the silence regarding Griner’s sexuality is surprising and welcome, and I for one will watch with great interest to see how it plays out.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/11/10/baylor
http://www.kxxv.com/Global/story.asp?S=14183742&clienttype=printable
http://cjonline.com/stories/032804/pag_expelled.shtml
http://lubbockonline.com/stories/051604/sta_051604082.shtml
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/womensbasketball/2007-02-13-nkosi-cover_x.htm
http://www.kxii.com/home/headlines/1729606.html

markanthony

May 6th, 2013

Looks like Baylor U is worse than I thought.

TampaZeke

May 6th, 2013

Well jpeckjr, JB gave a very thorough response to your questions and I’m sure that there are MANY other instances that didn’t get widely reported. What do you say now?

jerry

May 6th, 2013

I don’t know if she has graduated yet, so unless she commits some heinous crime, which seems unlikely, the school is likely to let her finish and depart.

Unless they really are looking forward to bad publicity and losing some really talented athletes in the future who are gay and a few str8 athletes who are becoming allies of gay students.

jpeckjr

May 6th, 2013

Well, TZ, I say “thank you” to JB for the helpful information. I asked and someone did the research. I’ve done that before on this site and appreciate it when someone else does, too.

All of the incidents he found involved people who were not nationally prominent — an argument in favor of the argument she’s protected because she’s a star athlete. So, while clearly there is a public record, the awareness of and possible ramifications from them were not the public relations nightmare a public condemnation of Ms. Griner would be.

I’m more in agreement with JB — Baylor will let her graduate. If a statement is made, it will come after graduation and late on a Friday afternoon. I still say it is a modern university with a strong aversion to controversy. I’m expecting them to stay relatively quiet. A championship women’s basketball team attracts positive attention. Announcing lesbians can’t play basketball there doesn’t. Even the Baptists like winning teams.

jpeckjr

May 6th, 2013

I mean I’m in agreement with Jerry.

Priya Lynn

May 7th, 2013

Jpeckjr said “Everyone seems disappointed they have not punished her. Why?”.

No, no one is disappointed, its a matter of being surprised by the lack of action and curious about the reason for it.

Ray

May 8th, 2013

I was writer/reporter/columnist for college softball for 15 years and biased in favor of women’s sport. Griner is by no means the first elite lesbian athlete at Baylor and the school knows their women’s sports program would not be able to compete if they did not at least privately tolerate lesbian athletes. Lesbians are on virtually *every* college team at every level and they dominate the coaching ranks at every level. There has never been a player like Brittany Griner in basketball and there’s simply no doubt that the Baylor administration knows that. The only question in my mind is whether Griner is even a student any more. She going to be making several million dollars in the next couple of years and she doesn’t need to finish her school to do that. Baylor’s basketball team will fall off the charts with the departure of Griner and if they know what’s good for them, they better keeps their yaps shut. I know that Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, a Bayor product, is a HUGE supporter of Brittany Griner. When you have a school that produces two game-changing athletes of the caliber of Griner and RGIII, the handwriting is on the wall. Watch Baylor.

It’s a new day from the time that Sheryl Swoops decided to go to Texas Tech because she didn’t like the lesbian atmosphere at the University of Texas. But then she led Tech to the NCAA title, went on to become MVP of the WNBA and an Olympic Gold Medalist, and, as karma happens, comes out of the closet and apologies. Women who don’t want to play with lesbians are going to places like Liberty and it Liberty could just produce **any** talent, we’d all find out that they have lesbians, too. That the way it is. Basketball and softball for women were FOUNDED on the backs of lesbians in the 1940s and ’50s. Nothing has changed since then except a whole lot more women owe lesbian athletes a debt of thanks for slugging it out with colleges until it was comfortable for straight girls to come in act un-lady like on a court or softball diamond.

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