“When they went over their constitution on Jan. 31 they had been told that their constitution is fine. This past Tuesday, they were told it’s not fine unless you take out these five words: ‘a personal commitment to Jesus Christ,’ requirement for your leaders.”
A Christian student group at Vanderbilt University has been told by the school’s administration that it will lose its recognized status on campus unless the group removes its requirement that its leaders have a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ,” says a Christian legal association.
Despite a discussion with school officials at the beginning of the year that led members of the group to believe their bylaws were approved, the group was told last week that the university’s new policy barring religious groups from selecting members and leaders based on faith requirements will disqualify the group next school year.
The Christian Legal Society told The Christian Post on Friday that the small Christian student group, which wants to stay anonymous, received an email from the administration last Tuesday that stated that the group’s application to keep its recognition was deficient because the group’s constitution states the following:
“Criteria for officer selection will include level and quality of past involvement, personal commitment to Jesus Christ, commitment to the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability.”
CLS said that the student group was told that in order to retain recognition, it must eliminate the requirement that leaders have a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ.” The private university, located in Nashville, Tenn., dictated that the following sentence be substituted instead:
“Criteria for officer selection will include level and quality of past involvement, commitment to the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability.”
Although they do not want to bring attention to themselves, the issue with Christian organizations at Vanderbilt has become enough of a problem on campus that the group does want to let others know about the situation, said CLS spokesperson Kim Colby.
“When they went over their constitution on Jan. 31 they had been told that their constitution is fine. This past Tuesday, they were told it’s not fine unless you take out these five words: ‘a personal commitment to Jesus Christ,’ requirement for your leaders,” Colby told CP. “They were told they would not be recognized next year which means they cannot reserve space, or attend the student fair, or be a part of email blasts from the college.”
Recently, Christian students at Vanderbilt University organized a video campaign highlighting their concern for the university’s new policy that they say discriminates against Christians.
The nearly seven-minute video features several university students, alumni, and sponsors speaking on their rights to freely express their religious association, and the importance of electing religious leaders to the university’s student run organizations.
The video also claims that there is a disparity in university requirements for Greek organizations and religious organizations, as the university allows Greek organization to “discriminate” for leadership and membership positions.