Two professional science societies refused to post job openings at Brigham Young University because of the Mormon-affiliated school’s affirmation of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., and the Geological Society of America in Colorado yanked the job ads last month, describing the BYU honor code as “inconsistent” with their ethical standards of diversity and inclusion.
The university in Provo, Utah, requires faculty and students to comply with an honor code that bars all forms of sexual behavior except that between a married man and woman. The school does not regard same-sex attraction as a sin but forbids “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”
The university has not issued any official comment on the pulled postings. But three BYU science professors—Benjamin W. Abbott, Jani Radebaugh, and Jamie L. Jensen—wrote a letter arguing that the “diversity and inclusion” debate misses a concern for “ideological diversity,” or “a willingness to be challenged and the intellectual humility to admit that the other side may have something to offer.”
“This is about coercion and penalty,” said Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, an association of more than 180 Christian institutions. “When a scientific organization edits the potential of other scientists to learn about jobs, they are penalizing by withdrawing access and attempting to coerce by making things tough enough that the institution will come into line with their way of thinking.”
For Hoogstra, this flies in the face of institutional autonomy, something she said is a bedrock value for all higher education: “If diversity and inclusion is a good idea, then it’s not only diversity of people that’s important but diversity of mission. That’s the common ground.” —S.W.