A professor of theology has agreed to step down from his position after coming out as transgender to officials at the Christian university that employed him for 15 years, both parties announced in a joint statement Friday.
Professor H. Adam Ackley, formerly Heather Ann Clements, was in ongoing negotiations with Azusa Pacific University officials to continue teaching at least through the remainder of the semester after being asked to resign last month.
"While we appreciate Dr. Ackley’s past service and pray God’s best for the journey ahead, we have reached a mutual agreement that recognizes it would be best for Dr. Ackley to pursue professional endeavors elsewhere," the university said in a statement.
The statement said Ackley's final day at Azusa Pacific would be Friday.
"Given this is a personnel matter, the details of this agreement remain confidential," the statement said.
Ackley's attorney, Paul Southwick, argued that his client did not violate school policies.
"The only code they have is homosexual conduct, but Adam has not conducted in homosexual conduct," Southwick told NBC4 Los Angeles.
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In the statement, the university said "thoughtful conversations" with Ackley concluded with both parties recognizing that "they have different views on the theology of human sexuality."
The professor began referring to himself as H. Adam Ackley at the beginning of the semester to go along with his slowly evolving masculine appearance. When he asked the school to recognize his name and gender change, the university immediately asked him to step down from his position, his attorney said.
Ackley, who was once the school's chair of theology and philosophy, said he has received an "overwhelming amount of support" from students and colleagues, as well as on social media, since his story came to light.
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