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Gary Campbell

(he/him)

Clarks Summit University

Gary Campbell lives in Apollo Beach. He identifies as a gay man.

Beginning in August 2001, he became a student at Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit,
PA. He did not graduate and in 2003 stopped attending the school, which is now called Clarks Summit University.

The university has a student handbook detailing rules of behavior for students and includes several specific anti-LGBTQ+ policies, including regulation of romantic and sexual relationships between people of the same sex. The school learned of his attraction to men and encouraged him to “overcome his sin.” Over time, students charged with monitoring the behavior of other students attempted to entrap Gary into behavior that would violate the student handbook. “The behavior was manipulative and immoral at best, and possibly bordered on sexual assault
at worst,” he said. “I would not have been a willing participant in an activity specifically and
solely geared towards getting me punished.”

When Gary confessed that he is gay, he was suspended for seven days and removed from a number of extracurricular positions. He was forced to return home for this time at his own expense and then was not allowed to attend school full time. Later in his career he was barred from living off campus because of the chance he would engage in same-sex behavior.

Shortly after that, Gary decided to leave the school. He became more comfortable with himself, began dating a man, and reached two years of sobriety after a period of self-medicating with alcohol to grapple with Religious Trauma Syndrome. He attempted to finish his degree at Clarks Summit University in 2019, but after being admitted received a call from the Dean of Men that someone reported that Gary was in a same-sex relationship. He would not be able to finish his degree there after all. He ultimately completed his degree at Lackawanna College, which had heard about his discrimination experience and allowed him to attend free of charge.

“I am participating in this lawsuit to make sure that what I went through does not happen to anyone else,” Gary said. “I want to make the world safter for LGBTQ+ students who attend religious schools. I also feel like it is my civic duty to make the world a safer place.” He is raising his voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at Clarks Summit University and religiously affiliated colleges across the country.