Andrews University Announces Taskforce to Address LGBT Homelessness

In Volume 99, Issue 20 of Student Movement, the Andrews University student newspaper, university president Niels-Erik Andreasen announced the creation of a taskforce to address the issue of LGBT youth homelessness. Homelessness among young LGBT populations became the focus of intense discussion on the Andrews University campus when administration halted a fundraiser from the university's unofficial gay-straight alliance, AULL4One. The proposed bake sale aimed to raise funds for Project Fierce, a nonprofit that assists homeless LGBT youth in Chicago.

News of the canceled bake sale spread quickly on several news outlets and social media, creating the damaging (and misleading) impression that Andrews University opposed helping homeless LGBT youth. Tensions on campus eased somewhat during spring break, but administration decided they needed to do more to address the negative perceptions of the university that media reports created.

Meanwhile, AULL4One took their fundraising efforts online through the crowdsourcing website IndieGoGo. The group hoped to raise $2,000 for Project Fierce, but international attention on the story helped generate enormous support for the fundraiser. When the fundraiser ended yesterday AULL4One's effort generated $17,480 in donations.

At the same time the online fundraiser was winding down, copies of Student Movement with President Andreasen's letter circulated on the Andrews University campus. In his letter, Andreasen addressed head on the idea that helping homeless gay youth runs counter to Seventh-day Adventist values. He asserted that supporting such a vulnerable population is in keeping with the life and teachings of Jesus. Andreasen't letter appeared on the "Ideas" page of the student newspaper beneath two articles on transgender identity and issues—the first entitled "Beyond the Binary" by Isabel Stafford, and the second entitled "Trans Challenges" by Dakota Hall.

President Niels-Erik Andreasen's letter in its entirety follows:

Dear Friends,

As you prepared for the end of the school year, I want to update you about a concern that emerged around the time many of you left campus for spring break.

For those of you who may be unaware, Andrews University has come under criticism in several media outlets about its response to a request for an on-campus fundraising event.

Let me emphasize that as part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Andrews University is committed to help all of God's children, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. This commitment clearly reflects the values of Christ and His calling.

The question of whether or not Andrews University views the needs of homeless LGBT youth as an important humanitarian cause is one that we can answer with a resounding "yes," just as we believe Jesus would have responded.

We recognize the passion a number of our students have demonstrated in support of this issue. We believe that exploring the underlying causes of LGBT homelessness, along with other needs and concerns facing LGBT youth, is important for the University to consider.

Today I am sharing with you that we are committed to taking steps forward that will include careful study and the appointment of a taskforce that will help us gain greater understanding of this problem and propose helpful responses to the needs of these young people.

Further, we realize that these needs exist, in particular, because some Christian parents struggle with how to relate to their children as they identify and are honest about their orientation. This struggle sometimes leads to the tragedy of homelessness for LGBT youth.

We will keep you informed as we move forward on these issues, but in the meantime, an email address has been set up where you can send thoughts about the process or concerns that you'd like to have addressed. That address is

Niels-Erik Andreasen, President

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of Spectrum

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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I have great respect for and confidence in the President of Andrews. I am sure he will lead the way to an humanitarian solution to the homeless issue without compromising the moral stance of the founding church. We need the vigor of youth but also the seasoning of seniors. I think Andrews and the Seminary offer much to the Church and to society. In confronting homelessness, hunger, nakedness, and disease Christianity faces its greatest challenge and greatest opportunity. Tom Z


It was a painful delivery, but the baby is beautiful!


This is a noble and worthy effort, but no room can be made within it for individuals or organizations who support acceptance of homosexual behavior by Andrews University or its governing authority—the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Homeless youth (and non-youth) of any orientation or chosen lifestyle deserve compassion and help from true Christians. But the witness of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and all its institutions, such as Andrews University, must be transparent and unequivocal in favor both of the Biblical definition of godly sexuality and the Biblical imperative of compassion and justice for all humanity.


I find this article NOT saying anything.
Where are they going to do their “bean counting” of LGBT homeless?
Andrews area? Chicago area? The World?
How much money are they spending?
It is interesting that by the Andrews Admin saying NO! that the benefit for the Homeless was hugely different than if they would have said YES! and allowed a few cupcakes to be sold. And most on campus would not have known the event occurred.
How will they Publish, and will there be any value in the spending of all this time and money by Andrews?
Is this just a PR ploy after the huge Win-Win for the homeless youth of Chicago?


i completely agree…neils-erik andreasen has shown his value from the beginning of this troubling episode…

Ah! The great “yes butt!”

Trust The Process.


Does this mean that LBGT students will not become homeless if they appear once to “cross the line” of their very sensitive situation? What if there is an off-campus partner, perhaps at their home? How will this affect all those students?

Kevin has posited an impossible dilemma: the need for compassion and help, while at the same time making sure the Biblical definition of godly sexuality. Will there be a sermon or suggestion of the need to change their orientation while giving them help?


Isn’t it better that, "Wrong again?"
I guess it is!

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If this is just a PR ploy, wont the University Age students be able to see through the Smoke Screen? If so, wont that diminish the view of Administration some more?
Is this going to be a never ending Whirlpool for Administration?

April 9, 1945, 70 years ago Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis.

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Steve, thanks for reminding us. That was a great man of God. I have profound admiration for him, his writings, and his commitment to God and His cause. Had the war ended two weeks earlier… just imagine!

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i think steve may be hinting at the relatively new theory that bonhoeffer was gay…check this out:

but then again, i just read on advindicate that according to larry kramer, founder of actup, both abraham lincoln and george washington were gay…the things people are discovering now…

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Actually it isn’t. While “Wrong again” is judgmental,
“But” is the “Great Eraser”… that “takes out” whatever
went before it.


Last night, a gift of 2 churches – the white 1st Baptist and a Methodist – who joined together to sponsor a wonderful performer, Al Staggs, We were blessed by a one man performance of Bonhoeffer, using his Letters from Prison and Al in striped prison garb to focus on his life and last day in prison.

While he spoke I received a picture of what it must have been for Paul in his Roman prison. And how it must have been for him to be able to have contact with the outside world through his prison letters. And perhaps he was able to receive letters from others to him in prison.
It was a very moving thought, a very momentary moving visual insight.
I have no idea WHY I thought of Paul, I was concentrating on Dietrich.
It was a great gift to honor the 70th anniversary of the life of a great man, an insightful theologian.
To suffer momentarily with Paul.

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The statement reminds me of “Blue Ribbon Panels” that are created when political leaders are caught in embarrassing situations.

I am glad that the university is studying the issue. I am looking forward to a complete and open conversation and healthy introspection about the negative effects that the attitudes of the SDA church can have on the lives of LGBT young people. I am waiting for a thoughtful report that reflects a careful study by the taskforce.


We can only hope that it is not a quick fix and but a complete overhaul of the attitudes and beliefs that have caused so much damage to innocent victims.


I think of LGBT homelessness as being like a canary in the mine. It is a heart breaking and troubling issue. But it is only a part of the larger issue of LGBT lives in the SDA church. I join you in hoping that the issue will receive a complete overhaul of the church’s attitude towards the issue.


This is great news! I’m sorry that it took so much to get to this point, but the best thing is probably to not dwell on the past.


I want to comment on this part of the letter please, “Further, we realize that these needs exist, in particular, because some Christian parents struggle with how to relate to their children as they identify and are honest about their orientation. This struggle sometimes leads to the tragedy of homelessness for LGBT youth.” This brings to my mind the time when I volunteered as a Pastor and as a counsellor with a Christian Pregnancy Centre. Some of the young women coming for help wanted to keep their baby, but their so-called Christian parents were pressuring them to have an abortion so that no-one at church would find out her ‘sin.’ These young women left home rather than endure this. Families were found for them. These families cared for them like their own, throughout the pregnancy and beyond regardless of whether they kept the baby or put the child up for adoption… Maybe caring families could take these souls in that have been cast out from their so-called Christian families as well as give money for those who prefer to live on their own. Everyone has to work out their own spirituality between themselves and God. In the meantime, lets house and feed and clothe the homeless as if we were housing and feeding and clothing Christ, (Matthew 25:40). God Bless Spectrum for having this discussion.


One of the stumbling blocks for some LGBT youth getting permanent housing is drug and alcohol abuse. These are higher in the LGBT youth population. The interaction between family and social acceptance and substance abuse is lowered.

When youth feel as if they are in a safe environment, the possibility of drug use declines.

Many shelters and halfway housing have policies about allowing people who are still abusing drugs to be accepted into programs. The “housing first” movement is still small but seems to be a promising idea because when people are in a stable environment they often have a stability they need to deal with their substance abuse. When people are being housed, they can also have regular psychological care to deal with the psychological struggles that many on the streets share.