Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 11:08:18 EDT
Subject: Academic Freedom?


Here we are greeted with more folks openly identifying themselves as empty- headed fools.


Bob Jones University Bans Gay Alums

.c The Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Bob Jones University has a message for gay alumni: Stay away or be arrested.

The Christian fundamentalist school threatened Thursday to arrest all gay graduates who return to campus. But the university then partially backed down, permitting gays to visit its art museum since a ban could affect the gallery's tax-exempt status.

Wayne Mouritzen, a retired minister and Bob Jones graduate, got a letter banning him from campus because officials discovered he is gay.

The letter, signed by Bob Jones' dean of students, said: "With grief we must tell you that as long as you are living as a homosexual, you, of course, would not be welcome on the campus and would be arrested for trespassing if you did visit."

Mouritzen, 60, who said he came to grips with being gay only six months ago, was shocked to read the letter.

"They do have a beautiful art gallery, but who wants to go on campus and get arrested?" he said. "It's truly not public if it discriminates against gays."

University spokesman Jonathan Pait said administrators routinely write to alumni they think have strayed from the school's core beliefs. It was not clear whether local police or the university's own campus officers were expected to arrest returning gay alumni.

Pait initially said that gays were completely barred. But, after questions from The Greenville News, he said they could visit the museum, a separate nonprofit organization.

An IRS spokesman said a violation of state or federal law, including anti- discrimination laws, could jeopardize an organization's tax-exempt status. He refused to discuss Bob Jones' policies.

Last month, Greenville County Council agreed to give the college $28,000 in hotel tax money to renovate the museum's entrance, but backed down after discovering it had not followed state procedures for dispensing the funds.

Councilwoman Lottie Gibson said letters banning people from campus should disqualify the museum from receiving aid.

"They're just trying to get the money and they aren't going to let those people go out there regardless of what they say," she said. "I don't put any faith in what they're saying now."

Bob Jones' tax-exempt status was debated for more than a decade after the IRS withdrew the status in 1970 because it said the university discriminated on the basis of race.

AP-NY-10-23-98 0937EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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