DUE WEST -- A statement on sexuality that Erskine College's board of trustees approved last month is receiving national attention.
Journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Daily News and USA Today have recently written articles about the statement that the college's trustees adopted Feb. 20.
According to the board's statement, "Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator."
Erskine spokesman Cliff Smith said Sunday that the national news coverage has inaccurately described the board's statement as a reaction to publicity surrounding two gay athletes on the college's men's volleyball team. Smith said discussions among the trustees regarding the statement on sexuality began before a website called OutSports.com posted a story last year about athletes Andrew Davis and Juan Varona.
Erskine officials sought to clarify the issue in a post on the college's website Friday.
The action taken by the trustees did not "prescribe a policy and does not 'ban' any individual or class of individuals from attending Erskine," according to Friday's post. "No students have been asked to leave Erskine based on this statement."
Friday's post also emphasized that "Erskine has been and is a distinctly Christian academic community where all types of students are welcome."
Located in the small community of Due West, Erskine was founded in 1839 by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Erskine has 553 undergraduate students, according to its website.
Davis, a junior from Asheville, is still on Erskine's volleyball team. Varona quit the team on Feb. 10, according to Mark L. Peeler, Erskine's vice president for intercollegiate athletics and men's basketball coach.
"Our understanding was that he quit because of a disagreement in philosophy with our new coach about playing time and work ethic," Peeler said in an email Sunday. "He remains a student at Erskine."
Varona, a 21-year-old business and Spanish major, told the The New York Daily News that he may transfer to another school.
"I don't want to be in a place where I basically have to be hiding who I am," he said, adding that no one ever voiced an issue with his sexual orientation until the board "dropped that statement."
"It basically came out of nowhere," Varona said.