The College of the Ozarks plans to appeal after a federal judge who ruled the school must open its dorm rooms and showers to members of the opposite sex.
The Missouri school, which is regularly listed as a vest value by US News and Forbes, is suing the Biden administration over a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development forcing religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening girls’ dormitories to males who identify as female. The order also applies to females who identify as males.
“The government can’t force schools to open girls’ dorm rooms to males or vice versa,” said Julie Marie Blake, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the college. “President Biden is punishing religious schools, organizations and churches simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Religious schools like the College of the Ozarks are free to follow the religious tradition they represent. That’s why we are asking the court to halt enforcement of this unconstitutional directive while our lawsuit proceeds.”
Founded in 1906, College of the Ozarks cites its strong Christian foundation as central to its mission. This includes the belief that biological sex is not changeable, and dormitories operate by that resolution. HUD’s rule change forces colleges and universities nationwide, including faith-based institutions, to open girls’ dorms to male students, allowing them to share bathrooms and showers. If the college refuses, it faces fines up to six figures.
“While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, we expect to appeal so that schools are not forced to open women’s dorm rooms to males and violate their religious beliefs,” college President Jerry C. Davis said. “For more than 100 years, College of the Ozarks has provided a distinctly Christian education to students with financial need. We will not abandon our mission. The fight to protect our religious freedom has just begun.
“The Biden Administration’s policy forces College of the Ozarks to decide between defending its religious liberty from government overreach or violating our core beliefs. The government’s threats include harmful fines that could easily amount to six figures. Fair Housing Act penalties can even land people in jail. College of the Ozarks will not stand on the sidelines while our right to religious freedom is attacked. That is why we filed a lawsuit with Alliance Defending Freedom to protect our female students and the Christian education we provide.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice