Sunday, December 29, 2019
Inside Higher Ed, SMU Sued for Severing Ties With Church:
A regional branch of the United Methodist Church filed suit against Southern Methodist University for amending its governance documents to separate itself from control by the church.
According to the lawsuit, filed last week in the court of Dallas County, Southern Methodist filed an amendment to its articles of incorporation in November deleting language stating that SMU was “to be forever owned, maintained and controlled by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church.”
The decision by SMU to amend its article of incorporation and bylaws follows a February vote by the Methodist church’s controlling body to strengthen its prohibitions on performing same-sex marriage and ordaining gay and lesbian clergy. SMU’s president, R. Gerald Turner, responded to the vote by reaffirming the university’s nondiscrimination policies and inclusive values and emphasizing the institution’s independence from church governance.
The Board of Trustees voted in November to "update its governance documents to make it clear that SMU is solely maintained and controlled by its board as the ultimate authority for the university," Turner wrote in a statement Friday. ...
Several other Methodist colleges have moved to separate themselves from the United Methodist Church following the February vote opposing same-sex marriage and ordination of same-sex clergy.