The Matthew Shepard Foundation has joined CampusPride and more than 80 other LGBTQ+, religious, sports and youth groups in urging the National College Athletic Association to “divest from all religious based campuses who have requested discriminatory Title IX waivers toward LGBTQ youth.”
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. As of December 2015, a California federal district judge ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are not separate issues, but grouped into sex discrimination. Since this ruling, dozens of religious-affiliated colleges and universities have been requesting waivers for Title IX, which would permit them to openly discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
In their open letter, the groups write:
“Over half of the campuses with the discriminatory waivers are participating NCAA member institutions. These requests are directly in conflict with the NCAA’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity … It is because we believe diversity and inclusion leads to the best learning environments that we ask NCAA to divest from all religious based campuses who have requested these discriminatory waivers.”
The Matthew Shepard Foundation wholeheartedly supports this message to the NCAA, who should not associate themselves with unaccepting campuses. Following Indiana’s religious freedom bill passed last year, the NCAA issued a statement expressing concern over the negative impact it could have on student athletes and employees and stating they are “deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment.”
To prove their support for accepting, inclusive environments, we ask the NCAA to cut ties with those requesting the ability to discriminate.