Dr. Everett Piper
President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University
On December 21, 2015 The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the nation’s largest LGBT activist groups, issued a letter to the United States Department of Education (DOE) calling for “greater transparency” from Christian colleges and universities. The reason given for this demand includes what the HRC calls a “disturbing trend” of religious schools citing religious reasons for seeking certain exemptions from Title IX.
Title IX, as you likely know, is the federal law enacted in 1972 primarily for the purpose of giving women equal access to intercollegiate sports. Since its passage, athletic programs and facilities have been made available to women in direct proportion to men at our colleges and universities. As the result, women have enjoyed nearly a 500 percent increase in athletic participation nationwide over the past forty plus years.
In 2014, however, the DOE issued new guidelines requiring the accommodation of transgendered students. With this ruling, it became law that, among other outcomes, any biological male who feels that he is female can avail himself of women’s athletic teams, locker rooms, showers, and/or restrooms, and live in a women’s dorm if he wishes. Oklahoma Wesleyan University and several other Christian colleges therefore sought relief under the existing religious exemption provided in Title IX. Thus, the demand from the HRC that the DOE now require Christian schools to “publish comprehensive information about the scope of the exemption they [requested and] received.”
My response in short – I gladly comply and here’s my report:
Yes, Oklahoma Wesleyan University requested an exemption. We recognize the ontological and biological dignity of the female. We believe in science and we believe in facts. Being a female is an objective reality and there is little more empirically obvious than one’s sex. At OKWU we refuse to participate in the misogynistic insult of women by ignoring such self-evident truths.
Yes, Oklahoma Wesleyan believes women should be granted the dignity of having equal access to athletics, and other programs, as well as their own facilities. Women attending this university will not only have their own basketball and soccer teams, but they, likewise, will have their own restrooms, showers and dorms.
Yes, Oklahoma Wesleyan reserves the right to discriminate between those who are male and those who are female. To do otherwise would seem to contradict the very premise of Title IX which calls upon us to differentiate female students from male students and to thereby give women the same access to programs as men. If we didn’t “discriminate” in such a way, how in the world would it be possible to comply with Title IX?
So there’s your report. How much more transparent would you like me to be? At Oklahoma Wesleyan University, we believe that sexual identity is a scientific fact and we refuse to degrade men and women by suggesting otherwise. Yes, we were granted an exemption. We are pro-women and proud of it!