Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland sent the following email to employees April 28, 2017:

I am writing to provide an update regarding a decision yesterday by our faculty to recommend approval of a student organization that has as its goal "to provide a forum for SU students who want to discuss topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity."  The name of the proposed organization is Samford Together.  The students have identified the group's purpose as discussion, not advocacy.

Read the Samford Together Purpose Statement

Yesterday's vote by the faculty was the latest in a series of steps that have occurred within our prescribed process for recognition of campus groups.  The process includes review and approval by the Student Senate, the Student Life Committee of the faculty, the Faculty Senate, and the full faculty before coming to the administration.  Final approval of organizations is achieved through review by the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Committee of the Board of Trustees and the full Board of Trustees. 

Prior to the action by the faculty yesterday, Dr. David Luthin, Chair of our Faculty Senate, asked me to offer remarks in an attempt to put this matter into context.  In speaking to our faculty, I sought to affirm my own views of the biblical basis for human sexuality, while emphasizing God's grace for every person.

Read My Comments to the Faculty

Following the vote of the faculty, leaders of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions issued a statement. Upon reading the statement yesterday afternoon, I called Dr. Rick Lance, the Executive Director of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and a person for whom I have great respect.  We had a cordial conversation and agreed that we would remain in close dialogue.

Over the course of the summer, I will work with many Samford friends and stakeholders, including leaders from our Board of Trustees and the Alabama Baptist State Convention, to find meaningful ways to affirm beliefs regarding the authority of scripture held by so many of us, while enabling us to serve in ways that reflect God's love for all people.  I am confident that Samford is a place where these goals may be achieved.

While our work will be ongoing throughout the summer, I ask for your prayers for Samford, the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and our process.

Andy Westmoreland