President Lewis Makes Statement on Women’s Collegiate Athletics

March 4, 2024

Houghton University President, Dr. Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., was interviewed by Bob Lonsberry on WHAM 1180. In the interview, President Lewis addressed last weekend’s All-Atlantic Regional Championships in which Houghton’s track and field student-athletes competed.

“This is not a Christian position. It is a moral position. It is wrong to let biological males compete in girls’ and women’s athletics,” said Lewis. “I reached the place where I could no longer remain silent on this issue…When I see young women with Houghton written across their uniform…at a competitive disadvantage, sometimes losing opportunities that are hard earned, there is no way that I, as their president, will continue to sit on the sidelines and refuse to advocate for change.”

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In Defense of Women’s Athletics

By Houghton President, Wayne D. Lewis, Jr.

Biological males’ participation in women’s athletics is wrong. Most Americans and most of the world know it to be wrong. A fringe agenda under the guise of making school and collegiate athletics more inclusive for transgender people has grown to the place of now unfairly displacing gifted and hardworking female athletes, obliterating the historic achievements and records of female athletes of the past, and threatening to dismantle the opportunities and protections for girls and women in sport trailblazing leaders fought so hard to create and protect. Too many leaders, parents, professional athletes and people of good will have been silent as female athletes are humiliated, silenced and robbed of hard-earned opportunities. That silence is complicit with the fringe agenda that threatens to dismantle girls’ and women’s athletics.

I currently serve a Christian university as its president. I believe God has formed each of us, men and women, with intention and purpose. I further believe sex and gender are a divine prerogative and are neither separate from each other nor subject to change. However, my assertion that biological males’ participation in women’s athletics is wrong is not a Christian position. It is a moral position. While I currently serve a Christian university, most of my career has been in the public sector as a teacher, professor, administrator and state education chief. If I served in any of those roles again, my position would be the same.

Throughout human history and to the present, most of the world and most Americans have upheld the truth that men and women have important distinguishing characteristics. American society is organized based on that understanding. Our organization of sport exists based on that understanding. Stating the obvious and widely supported truth that men and women have important biological differences is not a position of hatred or bigotry. It is common sense. While I believe most policy attempts to be inclusive of persons who identify as transgender are likely well-meaning, I struggle to understand how leaders with the best interest of girls and women at heart could advocate for or endorse practices that not only place female athletes at a competitive disadvantage, but also subject them to disrespect and embarrassment and place them at greater risk for harassment and assault.

Enough is enough. I will not sit by silently as a university president whose female student-athletes step weekly onto tracks, courts, and fields to compete but, in some cases, are forced to do so on playing fields we know to be unfair. I hope you will join me.