Oklahoma Christian University
Reconsidering Divorce Policy
Just one day after officials at Oklahoma Christian University announced a new plan to allow the private school to fire staff and faculty who get divorced, the university began reconsidering the policy.
President Mike O’Neal says the proposed policy has been misunderstood.
“This university has always and will always strongly affirm the sanctity and the permanence of marriage,” he says. “However, it will also be loving and compassionate to those whose marriages have not been so blessed.”
The policy that was to be implemented next month gave O’Neal authority to terminate any worker who separates or divorces for reasons that don’t meet “limited scriptural grounds.”
The policy also would have applied to prospective workers, who might have been denied employment if they had been divorced.
The policy did not list acceptable grounds for divorce, but O’Neal says they could include adultery and physical or emotional violence.
O’Neal says the change reflected an unwritten policy that already has led to several resignations.
The policy may continue even if not in writing, he adds, if an employee has not acted in keeping with university values like fidelity in marriage.
O’Neal says he regrets the policy “wasn’t sensitive enough in its wording to the people who have experienced divorce.”
A former president of the university says Oklahoma Christian could have appeared “judgmental and uncaring” if the plan had been adopted.
“I think the university made a wise decision in removing the proposed policy,” says Dr. Kevin E. Jacobs, who left the university four years ago and divorced in 2004.
He says the policy appeared to “completely disregard the emotional trauma of divorce.”
— Associated Press
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