George Fox University
Audrey Wojnarowisch lives in Newberg, OR, where they attend George Fox University. She expects to graduate with degrees in English and Sociology in May 2022. She identifies as bisexual and non-binary.
George Fox has a “Lifestyle Statement” and a student handbook that underline the university’s opposition to same-sex relationships. A campus-wide conversation on LGBTQ+ relationships emerged during the 2019-2020 school year when a student came out and was supported and embraced by many students, including the president of student government, which Audrey called “validating.” This event prompted Audrey to come out herself, and in the months since she has participated in discussions and efforts with school officials to make the university more affirming, but they have seen little change.
In their freshman year, Audrey was sexually assaulted by a female student. She worried about reporting the assault because it would out their sexual orientation to the university and put them at risk. When she did ultimately decide to report the assault to her resident advisory and area coordinator, George Fox University did not file a Title IX complaint as they should have.
“The school’s policies and approach to LGBTQ+ students make me feel marginalized, pushed aside, and erased,” Audrey said. “It affects my college experience on every level. It affects my
performance in the classroom, where professors teach that straight marriage is the foundation of God’s social order. It affects my experience with potential mentors in my department, where professors preach that queer identities are fundamentally at odds with the Christian faith. It affects my experience in chapel, where I am alienated from worship spaces. It affects my experience with my peers, who are allowed to treat me as an outsider.”
Audrey is raising their voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at George Fox University and religiously affiliated colleges across the country. They said, “I want George Fox’s policies to change so that I won’t be at risk of discipline for my identity or relationships and so I, and other LGBTQ+ students, will be protected if we experience unsafe situations, harassment or violence.”
At many religious schools, colleges, and universities, LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized students suffer discrimination, abuse, isolation, and hardship. If this describes you, you are not alone. We are in this together.
REAP fights for the safety, bodily autonomy, justice, and human rights of LGBTQIA+ and other communities marginalized at many predominantly white, taxpayer-funded religious schools and colleges. Using campus organizing, storytelling through podcasting, documentary film, and speaking and preaching on campuses throughout the country, REAP empowers students, faculty, staff and alumni at these institutions to advocate for human rights, while shining a light on the dangers and abuses of a major educational pipeline of white Christian Supremacy.