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LANSING –The settlement between Julie Marie Nemecek and Spring Arbor University, the conservative Christian university south of Lansing which fired Nemecek last month for being transgender, may not resolve the ongoing concerns Lansing Community College has about a proposed partnership between the two entities.
LCC, Michigan’s third largest community college, announced last year that it would partner with SAU to provide classes at a new multimillion dollar University Center Building at LCC. LCC officials say the contract has been on hold since the story of Nemecek, as well as anti-gay and other repressive policies of the organization have come to light.
“We are still investigating the relationships with our partners and how our policies align, including those of Spring Arbor,” says LCC spokesperson Tess Brown. “Our equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies are clear, and we are looking at it to see if contracting with an outside agency like Spring Arbor would violate our policies.”
Brown says the situation is being reviewed by outside legal counsel.
Nemecek, who began her transition in 2003 when she came out to her wife Joanna, was an associate dean of adult studies at Spring Arbor, and had been there 16 years when the University chose to fire her. In a letter to students, SAU President Gayle Beebe wrote that Nemecek’s gender issues were not within the Christian faith. The University, Beebe argued, had to take a stand in order to protect it’s Christ-centered education.
Nemecek sued in federal court, and on Monday settled with SAU for an undisclosed financial amount. She says she is looking at other teaching opportunities and wants to pursue diversity training opportunities.
Spring Arbor University put out a press statement saying the settlement was “mutually satisifactory.” It says on its website it takes the relationships with outside organizations like LCC very seriously and will continue to work to keep the partnership.
Nemecek said in an email to BTL,”I still do hope, as I said before mediation, that LCC looks carefully at any relationship with SAU.”