Sexuality & Relationships Policy

General Policies and Guidelines

In keeping with our mission and our commitment to biblical fidelity, all members of the University community are expected to follow the teaching of Scripture. We believe that the only authoritative and trustworthy norm for proper moral judgments is what God has revealed in his Word. Therefore, Biola University affirms that sexual intimacy is designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between one man and one woman. This view of sexuality and marriage is rooted in the Genesis account of creation, reflected in the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, and is maintained consistently throughout Scripture. It is a view based on the biblical teaching of monogamy -- that God designed sexual union for the purpose of uniting one man and one woman into a permanent, lifelong, one flesh union in the context of marriage. Thus, God's design for marriage and sexuality is the foundational reason for viewing acts of sexual intimacy between a man and a woman outside of marriage, and any act of sexual intimacy between two persons of the same sex, as illegitimate moral options for the confessing Christian. Sexual relations of any kind outside the confines of marriage between one man and one woman are inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture, as understood by Christian churches throughout history. Therefore, as part of living out a consistent, biblical spirituality, one dedicated to the pursuit of Christ-likeness, all members of the University are expected to avoid sexual intimacy outside of marriage and to refrain from encouraging the same in others.

Sexual Identity

Biola's position statement regarding transgenderism, gender identity, and gender expression is grounded in our long-standing institutional religious identity. This identity, in turn, is grounded in the teachings of the Bible as understood in the Protestant Evangelical theological tradition. We follow Christ's example to love all persons, understanding such love in the context of God's revealed truth. We affirm that God's original and ongoing intent and action is the creation of humanity manifest as two distinct sexes, male and female. We also recognize that due to sin and human brokenness, our experience of our sex and gender is not always that which God the Creator originally designed, and yet affirm further God's capacity to heal and transform our brokenness. With this foundational understanding of creation, fall, and redemption, we do not affirm the resolution of tension between one's biological sex and one's experience of gender by the adoption of a psychological identity discordant with one's birth sex. Similarly we do not affirm attempts to change one's given biological birth sex via medical intervention in favor of the identity of the opposite sex or of an indeterminate identity. We will make institutional decisions in light of this.

Faculty-Student or Staff-Student Relationships

A dating relationship between an instructor 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). Any inappropriate or unwelcome contact initiated by a faculty or staff member should be dealt with under the Discrimination & Sexual Harassment policy (above).

Pornography

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 the Biola Graduate Student Standards of Conduct 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.

Pregnancy Issues

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. Because the Bible is clear in its teaching on the sanctity of human life, life begins at conception; we abhor the destruction of innocent life through abortion-on-demand. Biola personnel stand ready to help those involved to cope effectively with the complexity of needs that 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.

Graduate Student Pregnancy Policy

California state law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in postsecondary education institutions. Specifically, Assembly Bill 2350 addresses the needs of graduate students who are either pregnant or recently experienced a birth or whose partner is pregnant or recently experienced a birth. Institutions, including Biola, are prohibited from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program, or limit his or her graduate studies solely as a result of pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues. Furthermore, post-secondary institutions are required to reasonably accommodate pregnant graduate students so that they may complete their courses and research.

Under AB 2350, a graduate student who chooses to take a pregnancy-related leave of absence is allowed a period of up to twelve (12) months to prepare for and take preliminary or qualifying examinations, as well as an extension of at least twelve (12) months toward normative time to degree completion, unless a longer extension is medically necessary. A graduate student who is not the birth parent and chooses to take a leave of absence for the birth of his or her child is allowed a one month period to prepare for and take any preliminary or qualifying examinations, as well as an extension of at least one month toward normative time to degree completion, unless a longer extension is medically necessary to care for his or her partner or their child.

In addition, if a graduate student in good academic standing takes a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth, the student will return to her program in good academic standing following the leave period, subject to administrative procedures. Likewise, if a graduate student in good academic standing who is not the birth parent and takes a leave of absence because of the birth of his or her child, the student will return to his or her program in good academic standing following the leave period, subject to administrative procedures.

If a graduate student feels she or he has been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, the student must bring the claim under the procedures for a Discrimination and Sexual Harassment complaint.

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