2019 Archives

Statement from President Turner regarding the United Methodist Church vote

February 27, 2019

Dear SMU community,

The United Methodist Church concluded a special session of the General Conference yesterday, ultimately voting to endorse the “Traditional Plan,” which excludes the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage within the Church. The implications of this official decision for the entire Church will be determined in the coming weeks and months.

Even as we value our historical relationship with the Church, SMU is distinct from the Church. Nothing changes in SMU’s day-to-day operations as a result of this action. In founding SMU, members of the Methodist Church and the citizens of Dallas created a University as a separate corporate entity governed by the SMU Board of Trustees. SMU will continue to operate under the University’s separate bylaws and policies, including our non-discrimination statement, as approved by the Board of Trustees.

Likewise, the values of SMU remain the same, including inclusivity and respect for others. We reaffirm SMU’s deep commitment to providing a welcoming community for all students, faculty and staff members and visitors. This commitment has not and will not change for LGTBQ individuals as well as for all others. As our students have stated, “Every Mustang will be valued.” Listed below are SMU resources to support the community with concerns or questions.

I will keep the SMU community apprised should any significant changes arise related to the Church’s decision. 


R. Gerald Turner 
SMU President

SMU resources 

Women & LGBT Center (214-768-4792) 
Counseling Services (214-768-2277)
Chaplain’s Office (214-768-4502)
Caring Community Connections


Originally posted on February 26, 2019 at 7:46 p.m.

The United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday, February 26, at a special session of the General Conference to accept the Traditional Plan, which will exclude the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and the marriage of same-sex persons.

Given the complexity of this outcome, SMU is still reviewing the details and assessing the implications. We will provide updates as new information warrants.

SMU’s non-discrimination statement, which is in practice and supported on campus, reflects our institutional values. SMU embraces inclusivity and is committed to providing students, faculty and staff a welcoming educational environment. 

The United Methodist News Service provides more information about the conference vote.


R. Gerald Turner
SMU President


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