HLGU conduct code, former student make local news

HANNIBAL – Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU) was in the news last week in St. Louis and the tri-state area when a gay student came to media saying the school denied him readmission after he publicly confirmed his homosexuality.

Chase Martinson, a 20-year-old nursing student from Jefferson County, attended HLGU for two years, but had left the school due to illness. He applied for re-admission and was initially accepted in January, but later received a letter saying that his application was on hold pending his affirmation of the student handbook.

Hannibal-LaGrange officials cannot speak on the matter due to student privacy rules, but media reports from KHQA-TV, the Associated Press and St. Louis Post-Dispatch say Martinson’s letter referred him to two specific pages of the university’s student handbook, pages 20 and 27. The two pages both mention sexual conduct.

Page 20 says in part: “All members of the University community should abstain from behavior which may lead to a violation of God’s standard on sexual activities. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, homosexual action, incest, adultery, fornication and sex outside of marriage.”

Page 27 says in part: “Sexual impropriety includes but is not limited to participation in, or appearance of, engaging in premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual activities, or cohabitations on or off campus. The promotion, and advocacy of, or ongoing practice of a homosexual lifestyle is contrary to institution expectations and is therefore prohibited. We desire helping student honor the Lord with the expression of their sexuality, but maintain Biblical standards in this area.”

Martinson came out as gay on Facebook in December. He told the Associated Press he grew up in a Baptist household but does not identify with the denomination. He told the media he is now making plans to attend the University of Missouri – St. Louis this fall.

The media reports all note that legal experts say the HLGU’s private status and religious affiliation give the school very solid legal standing regarding conduct standards.