SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KCAU) – Two Dordt University students have joined a nationwide lawsuit that’s fighting for gender equality on every college campus.
“I am upset about the fact that schools like Dordt are able to discriminate against people like me due to a religious exemption,” said Lauren Hoekstra, a Dordt student.
Lauren Hoekstra and 32 other plaintiffs are suing the United States Department of Education for what they are calling violations of Title IX.
The law states that U.S. citizens cannot be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity that receives federal funding.
“I have so many queer friends who have experiences that mirror mine, in which they feel like they don’t belong,” said Hoekstra.
Hoekstra and others LGBTQ students in the lawsuit feel that many private Christian Universities nationwide are violating Title IX.
“It almost feels like I’m not welcome here as a queer person. Like yes, I’m welcome here as a student and as a person, but as soon as I put the rainbow flag into it, then they’re like, wait wait wait, we didn’t mean it like that, we didn’t mean it like that,” said Lauren Hoekstra, a Dordt student.
The lawsuit originated in Oregon, but once it caught the attention of Hoekstra and one other Dordt student, they joined in.
“I hope that this lawsuit sets a precedent for how universities like Dordt have to treat people and that, just because I’m queer, it doesn’t make me any less than someone who is straight,” said Hoekstra.
KCAU 9 reached out to Dordt University for a comment. They responded saying in part, quote:
As a Christian university, Dordt does maintain community standards which are obedient to scripture. We seek to live these out with grace and truth—modeling Christ-like behavior in all areas of campus life. We pledge to extend compassion, care, support, and accountability for each member of our campus community as we develop into effective kingdom citizens.From Dordt University
Hoekstra said reading that statement felt like a slap in the face and that what they’re doing is unconstitutional.
“Back to the saying of the ’90s: What would Jesus do? I really don’t think that Jesus would take a religious exemption to discriminate against people. He sat and ate with the sinners, and his disciples were sinners. Let’s move on and be better and start loving and accepting people for who they are,” said Hoekstra.
The lawsuit is still in the beginning stages despite being filed a couple of months ago.