FAQs on SPU Board Decision

Updated: 5/23/22

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about the Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees recent decision to retain SPU’s employee lifestyle expectations.

Related documents mentioned in this FAQ. 

SPU’s Statement of Faith
SPU’s Mission, Core Themes, Vision Statement

Employment policy

SPU’s Board of Trustees is the governing authority for the University, and they made the final decision.

The board issued a statement on May 23, 2022, explaining their decision.

Regular faculty and staff are expected to affirm SPU’s Statement of Faith and to abide by conduct standards in the Employee Handbook, including the Employee Lifestyle Expectations, which states in part that employees are expected to refrain from sexual behavior that is inconsistent with the University's understanding of Biblical standards, including cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity, and same-sex sexual activity.

As a religious organization, and as permitted by law, the university reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion, including the right to expect university employees to hold certain religious beliefs, to participate in certain religious observances, and to refrain from certain conduct based on the university’s religious beliefs. 

Regular faculty and staff members are expected to affirm SPU’s Statement of Faith. Our faculty and staff come from a wide range of Christian traditions, including Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Catholic, and Free Methodist. While SPU does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, SPU does have religious-based conduct expectations for faculty and staff.

Yes, many faith-based universities have similar policies, including many in the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.


Free Methodist affiliation

Seattle Pacific University was founded by Free Methodist pioneers in 1891 and is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church USA. SPU also has close relationships with local Free Methodist churches.

SPU is one of a number of educational institutions that is part of the Association of Free Methodist Educational Institutions (AFMEI). The Free Methodist Church has identified three categories of AFMEI institutions (denominational, affiliated, and associate) and has listed criteria for qualification as an AFMEI institution in the Free Methodist Book of Discipline. SPU has provisions in its Articles of Incorporation and bylaws that reflect its affiliation with the Free Methodist Church.



The Board decision is related to SPU’s employment policy for faculty and staff. Undergraduate students are governed by SPU’s Student Standards of Conduct, which are based on the University's Christian mission and are intended to provide a positive learning environment, promote the intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical well-being of students, and facilitate character formation.

No, students do not have to be Christians to attend SPU, nor are they required to have any faith affiliation. SPU offers a liberal arts education grounded in the Christian faith to any student who wants to apply. 

Yes, there are LGBTQIA+ students enrolled at SPU. The university is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all undergraduate and graduate students, welcoming and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students in all academic pursuits, faith practices, and life together in community. Acknowledging the complexity of ongoing issues related to LGBTQ gender identity and sexual orientation, SPU desires to engage these conversations with humility and care.