Faculty Pressure Early Heterosexual Marriages

Reported by Elliot Coulter

George Fox University (GFU) does not allow for faculty to openly support the LGBTQ

community or same-sex marriage. While they can be kind toward queer students, they are not

allowed to express that they are allies or that they agree with same-sex marriage. However,

faculty are allowed to support heterosexual marriages, ring by spring, and early marriage in

general.

When I was still married, I was in Introduction to Speech, and my instructor was lecturing on

how engagement rings are the new bride price. I was the only married person in the class, and he

looked at me and said, “What’s your bride price?” Immediately, I was ashamed of even being

married at my age, let alone being thought of as something to be bought.

Some students aren’t even aware of these restrictions on faculty. One student said, “I wasn't

explicitly aware that professors couldn't support homosexuality, but unfortunately I'm not

surprised. George Fox wants everyone to have the same Christian values, even if those values are

damaging to students.”

This student also identifies as asexual, and she feels uncomfortable with the pressure by faculty

to get married. She said, “I definitely feel that pressure and it makes me uncomfortable. I've

never had a professor explicitly support ring by spring, but whenever marriage comes up, it's

always when not if. Sometimes professors will give advice relating to marriage or being in a

relationship, as if it's a necessary next step. Romantic love is assumed to be the end goal of

college . . . But that isn't the case for me and many other people.”

Danni Ewing, another GFU student, said, “Most students are significantly younger than the

professors and, for better or worse, we are in a different generation than most of them and live in

a different time. I think any conversation around marriage should be student- initiated and

student- led. I don’t think professors having opinions is specifically harmful, but it can be very

hurtful to be queer and learn that a professor you really look up to doesn’t think you should exist,

much less get married.”

Faculty have a great amount of power over many students. A lot of students look up to faculty

and will take on the opinions of their instructors. If a faculty member is encouraging only

heterosexual marriage, especially at a young age, that can lead students to believe that is the only

option. However, for same-sex attracted or asexual students this is invalidating, and it may lead

to the pressure to enter into a heterosexual marriage anyways.

These harmful opinions from faculty can also result in students having a prejudice against their

queer peers. Students can have a tendency to repeat what they’ve heard in class as fact, so when

they meet students who are in a same-sex marriage on campus — those students do exist — they

may avoid them, openly be against them, or even try to correct their peer’s behavior.

The support of ring by spring and heterosexual marriage by faculty should be just as limited as

support of same-sex marriage. If all marriages can’t be equally represented, no type of marriage

should be pressured on students.

Jessica DaughertyComment