Frequently Asked Questions
Messiah University does not hold that it is morally unacceptable to experience same-sex attraction. Similarly, the University does not hold a specific view on the empirical question regarding the causes of sexual orientation or on the related question of whether sexual orientation can be changed. Regardless of sexual orientation, the University does have expectations of every member of our Christ-centered educational community to live according to the community's behavioral codes of conduct (student and employee), including those expectations related to sexual practices.
Some key aspects of Messiah University’s understanding of same-sex attraction and expression are:
- All members of our community, being created in God's image, are to be treated with respect, grace, understanding, compassion, and love
- Being attracted to persons of the same sex is not morally unacceptable
- The University affirms Christian marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. Because of this, the University views premarital and extramarital intercourse and same-sex sexual expression as falling outside of God’s design for human sexuality.
In today's culture, it is important to realize that our students are already thinking and talking a great deal about matters related to sexuality. In keeping with our educational mission, Messiah University wants to foster a Christ-centered approach to these conversations—one that is gracious, healthy, mature, critically informed, and characterized by love.
The Sexuality and Gender Education (SAGE) program is not a completely new initiative. It is a realignment and rebranding of what Messiah University had already been doing relative to educating about themes of sexuality and gender. SAGE replaced former sexuality programming to place a greater emphasis on collaboration across campus and on developing student leaders to foster healthy and redemptive dialogue on matters related to sexuality.
No. The creation of SAGE just means that the University has fine-tuned its educational program offerings tied to its commitment to applying our gracious Christian faith to complex social issues such as sexuality and gender.
Current students can view the most up-to-date schedule of events happening each semester on campus through FalconLink, as well as through the Instagram page @messiahsage. SAGE collaborates on a variety of programming including large presentations and small group discussions or workshops throughout the year. SAGE Prism meetings happen every other Monday at 4 PM throughout the academic year. SAGE Connects programming is scheduled throughout the academic year and may include chapel opportunities, small group opportunities, or collaborative events.
SAGE also supports confidential groups that regularly meet every semester.
For more information on details regarding programs or groups, contact SAGE advisors through firstname.lastname@example.org or @messiahsage on Instagram.
Any form of sexual harassment or discrimination—including incidents involving an employee of the University—can be reported to any of Messiah University's Title IX team. You can also visit the University's Title IX page and click on the blue "I Need To Report" button.
For those who want to report anonymously, you have a couple of options.
You can reach out to Hannah McBride, the Coordinator for Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Education at email@example.com to report confidentially, or you can access the "Silent Witness" reporting option available via this link
Messiah University's Title IX Coordinator is Amanda Coffey (Vice President for Human Resources & Compliance). We also have three Deputy Coordinators: Doug Wood (Dean of Students), Bryce Wickard (Director of Safety), and Brooke Good (Assistant Director of Athletics/Senior Women’s Administrator). For contact information, visit http://www.messiah.edu/info/20592/compliance/1023/title_ix.
Each of the counselors at the Engle Center for Counseling & Health Services can offer confidentiality, as well as Hannah McBride, the Coordinator for Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Education.
For a student seeking confidential pastoral support, Student Ministries Pastor, Dr. Mina Choi, is also a confidential resource.
Even within confidential settings, these professionals are mandated by law to report anything that jeopardizes the safety of students, including abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideation, etc.
The University does not ask prospective or current students at any point to disclose information regarding their sexual orientation. There are students at Messiah University—past and present—that would self-identify as LGBT+. Students who identify as LGBT+ are welcomed at Messiah University.
Messiah University offers all students the appropriate care and support they need through a variety of offices and programs in the Division of Student Success and Engagement. Beyond these broader support systems, students who identify as LGBT+ can access individualized or group care and support through SAGE advisors, the Engle Center, and/or through pastoral counseling, and experience fellowship and learning on LGBT+ matters and concerns through SAGE Prism.
SAGE Prism is designed to be a safe space for students. SAGE Prism, while not confidential, is a discreet environment that is meant to be safe and welcoming for all students participating.
Housing requests for transgender students are processed on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors such as the type of housing being requested and the biological sex and gender expression of the student. Student preferences are processed in light of the availability of on- and off-campus accommodation options. As with any student residential situation on Messiah's campus, the dignity, well-being, and respect for all students are central to all decision-making and communication. In addition, maps highlighting single-user restrooms on campus are available from Conference & Event Services (upper level of Eisenhower Campus Center) or from the Office of Student Engagement (upper level of Larsen Student Union).
In addition to what is provided through the SAGE website and educational programming, SAGE advisors (Josiah Hatfield and Hannah McBride) can help connect students with the appropriate resource or personnel to address any questions while maintaining student privacy. Reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with these advisors.
Everyone is welcome at SAGE Prism. We ask only that everyone who comes remain respectful of others and their views. You can get involved just by showing up, or by e-mailing email@example.com for more information. SAGE Prism does not require you to make a set-in-stone commitment, but we do welcome and encourage consistent involvement and attendance so that we can build close community and relationships to foster deep learning and understanding.
- The Journey Group (women) - For women recovering from sexual abuse
- The Journey Group (men) - For men recovering from sexual abuse
- MAP - Men's sexual and porn addiction recovery
- She, Us & I - For women invested in growing their intimacy, sexual and/or relationship health
- Content specific chapel opportunities that may include sexual health, healing, and/or pornography
If you are a prospective student or parent, you may wish to start by contacting the Office of Admissions with any questions. You may direct any SAGE-related questions to SAGE advisors through the SAGE email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Kris Hansen-Kieffer, Vice Provost provides leadership to SAGE advisors and programming. Depending on your question, other areas that may be able to assist include the Engle Center for Counseling and Health Services, the Office of Residence Life, or the Office of the Dean of Students.