Major University Restricted A Church Elder’s Speech. He Says There’s More To The Story

(Screenshot/YouTube/University of Wyoming)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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  • Laramie Faith Community Church Elder Todd Schmidt was issued a one-year suspension from reserving a table at the University of Wyoming Student Union after he displayed a sign which read “God created male and female” and identified a male student who is in a sorority as a man.
  • Schmidt told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he was not given a verbal warning before the suspension was ordered, as is required by a Union policy.
  • “I didn’t expect it to be fun and roses, but I didn’t know it would go this far,” he told the DCNF.

Laramie Faith Community Church Elder Todd Schmidt claimed that University of Wyoming (UW) staff members did not issue a warning before they rescinded his ability to reserve a table at the campus Student Union building for one year, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Earlier this semester, Schmidt displayed a sign reading “God created male and female and [student’s name] is a male,” which identified a male student who became the first transgender person accepted into a UW sorority this semester, the Cowboy State Daily reported. Schmidt complied with UW’s request to remove the students’ name from the sign; however, he was still issued a one-year ban from reserving a table at the Union.

I didn’t expect it to be fun and roses, but I didn’t know it would go this far,” he told the DCNF.

Schmidt explained that while students have accused him of “harassing” and “causing an environment of fear… for the queer community,” no UW administrator had given him a warning before issuing the suspension. A Wyoming Union Policies and Operating Procedures policy states that visitors will receive one warning before being issued a suspension.

Nobody’s ever warned me about my speech there, although in the letter that I received telling me that I’d been banned, the Dean of Students told me that multiple verbal warnings had been given to me before by different UW officials,” he told the DCNF. “He didn’t put any names on it. I don’t know who they are.”

Chad Baldwin, UW’s associate vice president for Institutional Communications, told the DCNF that “Union staff received multiple complaints about Mr. Schmidt interacting with individuals even after they declined to engage with him.”

“Multiple verbal warnings were given to Mr. Schmidt by the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership director, the associate director of operations and various student staff who work at the Wyoming Union Information Desk,” he claimed.

Several Wyoming lawmakers sided with Schmidt and urged the university to reverse the suspension; however this request was recently denied as UW upheld its decision. State Representative-Elect Jeanette Ward previously told the DCNF that after she is sworn into office in January she intends to defund programs within UW including gender studies and the diversity, equity and inclusion office.

Schmidt said he is unsure what actions he would like to see the legislature take to push the university to change its culture.

Anything to make it better, but who gets to define what better is,” he claimed.

While Schmidt would like to see UW’s suspension lifted, he told the DCNF that he is still considering his options.

Schmidt has been speaking with students on UW’s campus for 17 years “to preach the Gospel [and] to tell people the good news of God’s plan of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he told the DCNF. He said that his goal in putting up the sign was to “proclaim the truth.”

“[Students] need to understand that God is the creator. He created male and female, He has a design for them and that’s all He created. There’s two genders. There’s two biological sexes,” he said. “There’s no more than that, and you can’t switch between the two. It’s a big issue today.”

The student in question is a current member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Schmidt first heard about the incident on the radio, he said, which sparked his intent to “address” it with students.

I’ve been accused of hate speech, which is, of course, false. I just named this individual and said he’s a male,” Schmidt said. “There’s no hate speech in that, and I don’t hate anybody. My prayer is that God would pour out His grace on these people and I’d see a lot of people saved; that they, too, could know the forgiveness of sins and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.”

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