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Christian college kicks out student because he’s gay

Sofia Lotto Persio September 12, 2018

Gary Campbell is only two classes away from earning a degree at Clarks Summit University (Gary Campbell/Facebook)

A man seeking to complete his education and earn a degree at the Clarks Summit University, a private Christian college, has been told he won’t be able to re-enroll because he is gay.

Gary Campbell attended the Pennsylvania-based university, known at the time as Baptist Bible College, between 2001 and 2003 before dropping out to save money. He eventually joined the US Navy, but later left the force due to drinking problems.

Campbell has been sober for 19 months and sought to put his life in order by completing his education. He told local news outlet the Scranton Times he wanted to earn a degree that would allow him to get a job working with recovering addicts.

Gary Campbell left the university in 2003 and later joined the Navy (Gary Campbell/Facebook)

In a Facebook post, Campbell wrote he had planned to return to Clarks Summit University this autumn to complete the studies he started 17 years ago, earning 109 credits.

Campbell said he was initially told he was only six credits, the equivalent of two classes, away from the amount needed to qualify for a degree in integrated studies.

But the university, which describes itself as “Christ-centered,” informed him he could not keep studying at the institution because of his sexuality.

“I wrote an appeal letter to the administration and just received word today that I am ‘dismissed as a student,'” Campbell wrote.

Campbell told PinkNews the university knew when he first enrolled in 2001 he was gay. “I was a Christian ‘struggling with the sin of homosexuality,'” he said.

This involved being subject to intense scrutiny. “I was under a watchful eye. If I kissed another boy or did anything sexual it was expected of me to confess and be accountable for my actions,” Campbell recalled.

“There was an incident when I met another student who was also gay and we made out. The school found out and removed me from the elite choir, my position as dorm chaplain and my membership from the Honor Corps,” he said.

Campbell does not think his past record had anything to do with the recent refusal.

“My gut tells me they viewed my social media accounts and could tell I was openly gay or an alumni told the school about me,” he said.

Activists launched the #LetGaryGraduate hashtag to condemn the university’s decision (Gary Campbell/Facebook)

PinkNews has contacted Clarks Summit University for comment.

In a statement to Fox56 the institution defended its decision as being consistent with the student handbook, which forbids same-sex relations as well as considering all types of physical display of affection, including hand-holding and kissing, as “not acceptable.”

The college’s decision sparked outrage, with social media users launching the hashtag #LetGaryGraduate on Twitter to support Campbell.

Since his story was reported in local media, a Pennsylvania university has offered to help. Lackawanna College President Mark Volk said his institution is looking into helping Campbell transfer his credits.

“For us, it’s about giving people that opportunity, that chance to move forward in their lives and their careers,” Volk told local publication The Times-Tribune.

Campbell expressed gratitude at the offer. “I am beyond grateful for their kindness,” he wrote on Twitter.

More: Baptist Biblical College, Clarks Summit University, Gary Campbell, Pennsylvania, US

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