Vanderbilt University nondiscrimination policy called unfair to religious groups

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Vanderbilt University's review of student organizations' obedience to its nondiscrimination policy has some students, professors and outside advocates saying the university itself is the one doing the discriminating.

Vanderbilt has asked "a dozen or so" student groups, including five religious ones, to come into compliance with the policy, which says the Nashville school doesn't discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Those groups, which the university declined to identify, have been given provisional status for the time being but could ultimately lose access to Vanderbilt funding and facilities if they don't comply.

"We are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students," Vanderbilt said in a statement after declining to make administrators available for interviews Monday.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults

Posted September 28, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Br. Michael wrote:

This was inherent from the very first in non-discrimination policies.  At the very heart of these policies is compelled association.  It was considered acceptable as long the the list of persons you couldn’t discriminate against (compelled to associate with) was short and dealt with fixed physical and ethnic matters such as race, ethnic and national origins.  Once the list expanded to include behaviors which are included in the GLBT additions to the list, non-discrimination lists, which grow ever larger, have become the instrument of tyranny and coercion.  They have become discriminatory in and of themselves and do away with any concept or right of people to freely associate or not associate..

September 28, 7:58 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

The full article seems to be gone.

September 28, 8:00 am | [comment link]
3. Ralinda wrote:

One of the groups threatened with being shut down is the Christian Legal Society. The others are the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduate Christian Fellowship, the fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi, and the sorority Sigma Phi Lambda. Each group’s constitution includes a clause restricting leadership positions to individuals who share the group’s core religious beliefs.

September 28, 11:22 am | [comment link]
4. jkc1945 wrote:

Fairly easy solution here;  these groups need to move off-campus, tell Vanderbilt to keep their funding, and do as they please.  We just went through this in a fairly similar situation with Bible Study in a local school district;  the district denied the group the ability to do it on school property - - so we bought a house across the street from the school, and offer it over the student’s lunchtime, with lunch supplied by us.  Result:  Bible Study is up about 25%.

September 28, 11:35 am | [comment link]
5. Langley Granbery wrote:

I think this situation at Vanderbilt is a matter of great concern and prayer. Please keep Vanderbilt officials in your prayers especially Chancellor Zeppos as well as the staff members and student leaders of the organizations whose status is in question. Information about the policy can be found on University website under the Office of Religious Affairs. Fox News ran a story Monday morning, and in general, it’s getting more publicity locally and nationally. Thank you Br. Michael for your comment. As a side note, the Methodist Episcopal Church South Bishop who spearheaded the founding of Vanderbilt in the 1870s was married to a lady from Mobile, AL. Her cousin (and close friend) was married to Cornelius Vanderbilt. After the Bishop and his wife spent several weeks in New York with the Vanderbilts, Cornelius gave him $500,000 and a pledge for another $500,000. (I’m going from memory here; hope these numbers are close.) Hence, the name change to a school founded by the Church. Almost 20 years ago, First Things ran two articles on the secularization process in the universities utilizing Vanderbilt as a case study. I read it a long time ago and saw that it was a gradual process. Both my wife and I are VU grads; I’m saddened to hear about what’s going on and hope the University will change its mind.

September 28, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
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