Rally for LGBTQ Rights and for 2 Fired Faculty Members at Point Loma Nazarene University

by on April 19, 2023 · 3 comments

in Education, LGBT rights, Ocean Beach

By M.G. Perez / KPBS / April 17, 2023

Current students, alumni and allies rallied outside Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) on Friday, April 14, protesting harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools.

The private Christian university has a strong biblical foundation that some say is not inclusive.

PLNU alumna Lauren Cazares founded an alumni and allies coalition to support the growing gay community on campus.

“I came to a private Christian university because I wanted a world-class education, a private Christian education. I got that — many of us did. We are proud alumni but we are not proud of what’s happening on campus right now,” Cazares said.

The rally outside PLNU came on the national Day of Silence coordinated by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The group also rallied for the support of two PLNU faculty members dismissed earlier this spring.

Melissa Tucker, an adjunct professor, was told in February she would no longer work at the university. Tucker said she believed it was because of her support of the LGBTQ community.

Dr. Mark Maddix, the dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry was later fired. He said it was because he publicly disagreed with what happened to Tucker.

Jessica Saavedra-White and Sydney McFadden are seniors at Point Loma Nazarene University. Both are scheduled to graduate next month, in San Diego, Calif., April 14, 2023
There are openly gay students attending classes at both the undergraduate campus on Point Loma and the graduate school in Mission Valley.

That includes Sydney McFadden and Jessica Saavedra-White, a couple scheduled to graduate in less than a month.

“We weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. I told Sydney, even if it’s just me and her, I would stand with her,” Saavedra-White said.

McFadden said, “There are such great people here on this campus that love so deeply and hardly. It’s one of the most beautiful things. I just wish that our faculty and administration could see that as much as the students do.”

In a written statement to KPBS, PLNU Director of Communications Lora Fleming said:

“We value and respect the right of free expression and believe that we can have difficult discussions while still demonstrating care and concern for each other.

In many ways, this exercise of respectfully voicing opinions on an issue embodies what it means to be a part of a Christian university. Growth and critical thinking take place when students have opportunities to engage in difficult issues within a safe and supportive environment.

While we cannot provide specific details on personnel issues, especially with the threat of potential litigation, the decision to suspend Dr. Maddix’s employment was independent of anything related to LGBTQIA+.”
Undergraduate students hold a silent protest on Friday, April 14, 2023, outside the First Church of the Nazarene on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University.
A silent protest was also held by students on the university’s campus, Friday. They held posters supporting the LGBTQ community outside the church where a weekly chapel service was being held.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Andres April 20, 2023 at 7:24 am

It’s literally a Christian school with conservative values and core beliefs that should be respected like any other right of a school they are entitled to there own views. Why does everything need to push LGBT+ agenda let something be different for once for the little conservative foundations we don’t have in SD. And this is coming from someone who has some liberal views as well. Apart of exercising ones religion is to follow it accordingly same views on homosexuality probably apply to Muslim, Jewish, or other religious affiliated schools. So your just discriminating someone’s religion if you can’t respect there beliefs.


Judy Collier April 21, 2023 at 8:54 am

I respect Andres as a person, but I do not respect the beliefs he stated.
I fear that non- Christians may think that most Christians are gender phobic bigots. Some churches are inclusive, inviting all to full participation, including the ordained priesthood. For further information on Christian beliefs, I suggest reading Matthew, chapters 5-7.


Frank Gormlie April 21, 2023 at 9:19 am

Thank you, Judy! Actually, I recall an article a few years ago that disclosed that many of PLNU students weren’t all that religious and that many did not attend the college because of religion.


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