The new policy
states that St. Thomas will pay for rooms for faculty and staff
traveling with students, but only heterosexual spouses and children can
share those rooms. The policy does not apply to staff traveling to
professional conferences without students
made by university president Fr. Dennis Dease, is unlikely to end the
controversy that's divided the St. Thomas campus for the past few
months and left some wondering “what’s next?” reported the St. Paul
While the travel
policy affects only a few professors, it became a flashpoint on campus
after two unmarried, heterosexual professors were told in December they
could travel with students only if they stayed in separate rooms.
As a result, the
unmarried couple declined to lead a student trip to Australia in
January. They and others noted that before last year they had traveled
together, and gay faculty had traveled with their partners, on student
trips and it was not an issue.
fear the new policy will impact university culture and dissuade gifted
faculty and students from coming to the university.
Fr. Dease said
he hoped his track record of hiring and diversity would provide a
comfort level for St. Thomas employees. He said gay and lesbian people
on campus “enrich the community as much as anyone else.” But he added:
"I hope that people don't expect that in order to respect their values,
I have to sacrifice ours as an institution."
University of St. Thomas has announced a controversial decision which
bars unmarried staff or faculty, who travel officially with students,
to share a room on those trips.