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Calvin University Clarifies Employee Guidelines on Sexuality

November 23, 2022
Calvin University campus
Calvin University campus

Calvin University held information sessions this week for faculty and staff to discuss its positions, policies, and requirements for honoring the CRCNA position on human sexuality. The sessions occurred after the university’s Board of Trustees decided in October to retain faculty members who expressed difficulties with part of the CRCNA position on sexuality that was formalized by the CRC’s Synod 2022, provided those faculty members adhere to Calvin’s requirements.

The October board decision reinforced and clarified the authority of existing positions and policies for all faculty and staff, including those with accepted confessional difficulties. Those policies require employees to honor the church’s position and prohibit employees from teaching, advocating, counseling, or guiding against it. As they have done in the past, Calvin’s personal conduct policies continue to reserve sexual relations for the context of marriage between one man and one woman, and apply to all employees and students, regardless of expressed confessional difficulties, personal convictions, or sexual orientation.

In addition to these decisions, the board endorsed further research on sexuality, continued care for LGBTQ+ students, and a commitment to engage difference with love, charity, and respect.

“While the board supports granting faculty, staff, and students protected space for disagreement, the board also reiterated Calvin’s existing positions and policies,” said Provost Noah Toly, who led the staff sessions.

“Faculty who had expressed confessional difficulties received a distillation of those positions and policies weeks ago. This week, we walked through those requirements with all employees at the board’s direction,” he added.

The board’s October decision to retain faculty who participated in the gravamen process applies only to those faculty who have completed the process. Others with confessional difficulties are expected to go through their own review process, which starts by articulating an expression of confessional difficulty founded on biblical and confessional rationales.

Future faculty candidates, specifically, will be required to affirm the Covenant for Faculty Members and the denomination’s confessional standards or to submit an expression of confessional difficulty for evaluation before hiring.