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Apr 12, 2017 05:51 AM EDT

Seven Faculty Senate Members Resign From Gordon College Following Controversy [VIDEO]

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Last week, faculty Senate members of the Gordon College resigned. The action was part of their effort to show support for a professor who claimed that she was denied a promotion because she criticized the Christian school's opposition to same-sex relationships.

The evangelical school in Wenham forbids professors, students, and staff from engaging in homosexual practice on or off campus. Resignation from all seven members represented a split between the faculty and the administration. Gordon has been struggling with gay rights since 2014.

Margaret DeWeese-Boyd, an assistant professor of sociology, wrote a complaint to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. She said that the college president and provost denied her a promotion because she openly criticized the policy since 2013.

DeWeese-Boyd said she spoke against the ban at a faculty meeting and signed a petition opposing it. She organized trainings and events related to gay rights and also directly addressed Gordon College president, D. Michael Lindsay.

The Boston Globe reported, in February, Lindsay and the provost denied DeWeese-Boyd's promotion. They override the unanimous recommendation of the faculty Senate. It prompted the members of the Senate to resign on Wednesday during a faculty meeting, said Hillary Schwab, DeWeese-Boyd's lawyer.

Schwab said the faculty members cited the president's refusal to follow the Senate's recommendations for promotions and the Senate took strong action to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.

Paul Miller, OneGordon group founder and 2008 alumnus said the professors who resigned from the Senate held varying views on the school's policy on same-sex relationships. OneGordon is a group that promotes gay rights on campus. Miller added the Senate's action was further indication of their frustration with Lindsay's management style.

Rick Sweeney, a college spokesman, said Janel Curry, Gordon College's provost addressed the resignations. In response, Dr. Curry thanked them for their service.

Sweeney added that they should allow time to explore how to bridge the gap in perspectives and that the college has strong and pointed disagreement with the allegations that were made in DeWeese-Boyd's complaint to the state antidiscrimination agency. The college will not comment further because they do not discuss personnel issues.

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