Student Handbook: Sexuality & Relationships
General Policy & Guidelines
In keeping with Biola University‘s mission and its commitment to evangelical Christianity, all members of the University community are expected to follow the teachings of Scripture. Therefore, Biola University affirms that sexual relationships are designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between husband and wife. This view of sexuality and marriage is rooted in the Genesis account of creation and is maintained consistently throughout Scripture.
Sexual relations of any kind outside these confines of marriage are inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture, as understood by Christian churches throughout history. Further, behavior promoting such relations (i.e., nudity, lying in bed together clothed, cohabitation, etc.) is also considered unacceptable. Therefore, as a matter of moral and faith witness, all members of the University are expected to avoid such conduct themselves and to refrain from encouraging it in others.
Sexual misconduct, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, will result in disciplinary action. In all disciplinary matters, we will seek to be redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved. Consequently, the University will offer counsel and assistance to support and strengthen the individual‘s resolve to live consistently with Christian teaching on sexuality.
Biola University believes that students are best supported if they are able to share their questions, struggles, or their self-understanding with trusted others, including those in Student Development. Concerns about sexuality may be difficult to disclose, but struggling in silence is a far greater challenge. In all such personal issues, Student Development staff members are committed to discretion, sensitivity, confidentiality, compassion, and redemption.
When a student approaches us and communicates that he or she is struggling with same- sex behavior, same-sex attraction and/or sexual orientation issues we aim to offer safety that promotes openness. We pledge to extend compassion and care communicating personal acceptance, while providing accountability and assistance supporting students in their desire to live consistently with Christian teaching.
In regards to behavior, all students are responsible for their actions, sexual and otherwise. At Biola, we are committed to helping our students develop toward Christ-like maturity in their daily practices. With this said, sexual behavior contrary to Biola’s community standards will be addressed through a disciplinary process. As noted earlier, in all disciplinary matters we will seek to be redemptive and developmental in the lives of the individuals involved.
We do lament the insensitive and often callous treatment that students working through these issues may have received from the Christian community. All members of the Biola Community are expected to treat one another with respect and Christ-like compassion. Insults, slurs and other forms of derogatory speech have no place in a Christian community. Through faculty & staff training, peer education and example we seek to educate staff and students about the harm caused by disrespectful or flippant speech around this topic.
Due to the complexity of issues related to same-sex behavior, same-sex attraction and sexual orientation, we are committed to engaging this conversation with courage, humility, prayerfulness and care. We believe, in accordance with Scripture, that we are all broken. Therefore, a primary goal of Student Development at Biola is to help each student find God in the midst of their unique history and struggles and discern how to walk with Him and others along the way.
Faculty-Student or Staff-Student Relationships
A dating relationship between a professor and a student enrolled in his/her class, or an advisor and an advisee, is generally prohibited. Dating relationships between faculty and students not currently enrolled in their classes, or between supervisors and subordinates or student workers, are generally deemed unwise. Such consensual relationships may create an environment in which power differences may be unfairly exploited, the respect and trust given someone in authority may be violated, and pressure may be subtly or inadvertently exerted on those in a vulnerable position (from the Faculty Handbook, section 9.4, 2/1/95). Any inappropriate or unwelcome contact initiated by a faculty or staff member should be dealt with under the Discrimination & Sexual Harassment policy (above).
University policy forbids exhibition, possession, or distribution of material or representations deemed to be obscene or contrary to the moral standards and/or mission of the University, including, but not limited to, pornography. Further, the use of institutional or personal computers for the viewing, transmission, retrieval and/or storage of such material is a violation of University community standards and will result in disciplinary action.
As with other sexual conduct outside the confines of marriage, viewing of pornography is inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture. As with other sexual misconduct, we will seek to be redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved. Consequently, the University will offer counsel and assistance to support and strengthen the individual‘s resolve to live consistently with Christian teaching on sexuality.
The University wants to assist those involved in an unplanned pregnancy while at Biola to consider the options available to them within the Christian moral framework. These include marriage of the parents, single parenthood, or offering the child for adoption. We believe the Bible is clear in its teaching on the sanctity of human life, and that life begins at conception; we therefore abhor the destruction of innocent life through abortion-on-demand.
Student Development stands ready to help those involved to cope effectively with the complexity of needs which a crisis pregnancy presents. Additional support is available through the Biola Counseling Center, the Health Center, along with academic and other support services. While some students in these circumstances may choose to leave the University temporarily, it is our hope that any student who chooses to continue in classes during the pregnancy will find Biola to be a supportive and redemptive community during this crucial time.