SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The decision by a private, Christian university to reject a gay student is getting a lot of attention tonight.
Gary Campbell, who now lives in Ohio, says he was told last month that because of his sexual orientation he is no longer welcome at Clarks Summit University in Lackawanna County.
Campbell is now 35 years old.
He was previously a student between 2001-2003 when the school was known at Baptist Bible College.
Just six credits shy of finishing his degree, Campbell wanted to graduate but was told no.
While its been known by different names, for more than 80 years, students have been getting a Christian education on the campus of Clarks Summit University.
One of its former students, Gary Campbell, says he’s been told he can no longer attend classes here because he’s gay.
“I was heartbroken. I was hurt and essentially I just, I just felt like I was punched in the gut again,” Gary Campbell said in a FaceTime interview with Eyewitness News.
Campbell says he re-applied to the university this spring hoping to finish his bachelor’s degree because he was just six credits short.
A recovering alcoholic himself, Campbell says he wants to help other recovering addicts.
“I always spoke highly of the school. I thought it was a great school with a great staff and for them to do this to me, it just felt like a slap in the face!” Campbell said.
Clarks Summit University says as a Christian College, it expects all students to act in a way that is consistent with its biblical belief system.
In a statement, the university says it tells prospective students “we adhere to biblical truths and expect them to do the same.”
The situation has sparked many on social media to use the #LetGaryGraduate hashtag.
The situation has also caught the attention of Lackawanna College president Mark Volk who reached out to Campbell to see if he could easily finish his final credits there.
“This is right in our mission set of providing opportunities for young men and women who really want to better themselves,” Lackawanna College President Mark Volk said.
When one door closes, another may open.
When asked if he thinks the Lackawanna College offer might work out, Campbell replied, “absolutely.”
“We’re ready to help. We’ll see how it works out!” Volk added.
Because Clarks Summit University is a private, religious school experts say there is nothing that prohibits it from excluding gay students.
In its statement, Clarks Summit University says it is pleased Campbell may have found another college to help him.
Campbell has provided his transcript to Lackawanna College and officials are going through options that might be available to him.