However, schools were allowed to request an exemption from that ban, typically for religious reasons.
Now, the Education Department has released the names of schools that asked to continue policies the feds would typically consider discriminatory.
Among the colleges that asked was Colorado Christian University in Lakewood — and documents now accessible at the DOE's website (two of which we've shared below) offer insight into CCU's approach to the transgender issue.
Specifically, the university allows students struggling with gender identity to "explore these feelings in an appropriate setting," but not to act on them — and if they do, they're asked to leave.
Among the documents now available is a December 2014 letter penned by Bill Armstrong, the president of Colorado Christian University and a former United States senator from the state; it's prefaced by a January 2015 reply from the DOE.
In his letter, Armstrong writes: "Colorado Christian University ('CCU') requires all of its faculty and employees to espouse a personal belief in the evangelical Christian faith. Every applicant for any position at CCU must sign an Application Acknowledgment agreeing to abide by CCU's Statement of Faith and Statement of Lifestyle Expectations, and to adhere to traditional biblical values and CCU's Strategic Objectives. If an individual is offered a job at CCU, he or she must execute the Statement of Faith and the Statement of Lifestyle Expectations before the hiring process is complete."
The Statement of Faith consists of seven essentials:
1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.As for the Lifestyle Expectations, the key passage as pertains to the trangender discrimination ban reads: "Members of the CCU community are expected to refrain from engaging in, advocating, teaching, supporting, encouraging, defending, or excusing homosexuality, transvestitism, transvestite behavior, transgenderism and transgender behavior."
2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
In addition, CCU's Board of Trustees adapted a policy on "homosexuality, transvestitism and transgenderism" in October 2010. A November 2014 letter to an official with the Education Department's civil rights division features its key philosophical statements:
[A]lthough some Christians may take other positions concern transvestitism and/or transgenderism, CCU's position is clear as to both. As a matter of religious faith, conviction and exercise, Colorado Christian Univesity adheres to the Biblical admonitions against both transvestitism and transvestite behavior, as set forth in Deuteronomy 22:5, and transgenderism and transgender behavior, as set forth in Genesis 1:27. Therefore, Colorado Christian University prohibits all of its officers, trustees, employees and students from engaging in, advocating, teaching, supporting, encouraging, defending or excusing transvestitism and transvestite behavior and/or transgender behavior, in any form or for any purpose.Even more revealing is this passage from CCU's student handbook, excerpted from a section entitled "Gender Identification."
Based on the mission of CCU, its standards and uniqueness as a living and learning environment that honors Jesus Christ, the university recognizes that some students may struggle with their gender identity and wish to explore living as a particular gender other than the one that they were biologically created as. When a student is cooperative and willing to explore these feelings in an appropriate setting and not act out the feelings, the university will allow them to continue being a part of the CCU community if they are pursuing counseling and a mentoring relationship that will help them discuss appropriately who God made them to be. In this process, however, the university will uphold a view that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" in the uniqueness and image of God and therefore strategically and purposefully made as the biological gender we were born as. Because of this belief, the university will not allow a student of a particular gender to dress and act differently than the biological one that God crated them to be. When a student decides to identify as a gender other than their biological one, it is in their, and the university's, best interest for them to leave the university community. It is also in the best interest of the university and the student for them to separate themselves from the CCU community if she or he pursues a medical course of action to physically change their biological gender to that of another sex.Below, see a Fox31 report about the university's position, followed by the two aforementioned documents made public by the U.S. Department of Education.