KARK 4 News, "5:50 p.m. – Equality Riders" (on Ouachita Baptist and Central Baptist stops)

5:50 p.m. – Equality Riders

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 @ 05:55pm CST
By Mallory Hardin, KARK 4 News

A group of young people are arrested on a college campus in Conway earlier this week for trespassing. Wednesday, the same group stopped at an Arkadelphia college to let their message be heard. The Soulforce Equality Riders are a social justice group aimed at encouraging and empowering gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trans-gender people.

They’re touring the country in a bus, with their destination being private Christian colleges, with a stop Wednesday at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. The equality riders say it’s all about dialogue, and they hope to create conversations that will continue after they leave campus.

Though their stops aren’t always peaceful. Monday, four of them were arrested for trespassing at Central Baptist College in Conway. Wednesday, administrators and security at Ouachita Baptist were prepared for their arrival.

"Schools have an option of immediately arresting them or providing them a location for them to meet peacefully," Trennis Henderson, VP of Communications at Ouachita Baptist University said.

That’s the approach Ouachita Baptist took. They restricted the equality riders to outskirts of campus, but gave students the option to see what was going on.

"This is an opportunity to show Christianity, speak the truth in love," Ouachita Junior Phillip Williamson said.

The equality riders hope to open minds and educate during their college tour, and if that means getting arrested, that’s a risk they’re willing to take.

"Especially the students that are gay and trans-gender that and are scared that we come to them, and so I think we do have to make that effort," Caitiln Macintyre, with Soulforce Equity Riders said.

The equality riders are headed to colleges in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The original article is available on the Arkansas Matters website:

Ouachita Baptist College

Name: Ouachita Baptist College
Location: Arkadelphia, AR
Religious Affiliation: Southern Baptist Convention
Enrollment: 1,448
Website: http://www.obu.edu/
Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Concerning GLBT Equality:

The Ouachita Baptist College 2008-9 Tiger Student Handbook contains the following:

Sexual Misconduct

The Ouachita community recognizes that human sexuality is a gift from God for procreation of human life and for the expression of one’s love through marriage. Misuses of God’s gift include, but are not limited to sexual abuse, sexual harassment, promiscuity (including violation of the Biblical teaching against homosexual acts), possession or distribution of pornographic or obscene materials, rape and/ or other immoral sexual acts. Sanctions range from verbal warning to expulsion. Certain acts are illegal under state and/or federal law and my be prosecuted. The university will strive to deal with all individuals constructively and redemptively.

The entire policy can be seen in the Ouchita Baptist College Student Handbook, which can be viewed here.