For some time now, Vanderbilt University has been ground zero in the battle to decide whether belief-based student groups on college campuses will be allowed to make membership and leadership decisions that are influenced by their core beliefs. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, this has been a thorny legal issue, one that has come to a head at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has taken a firm stance against student groups’ belief-based decisionmaking, enacting an extreme policy that even forbids religious groups from requiring their leaders to lead Bible studies, prayer, or worship. Why? Because that would imply that they have to believe in the Bible.
Unfortunately, Vanderbilt isn’t the only university that has been considering these ill-conceived restrictions. The State University of New York’s University at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo) actually derecognized the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship student group in April for requiring its leaders to endorse Christian beliefs.
Thankfully, that isn’t the end of the story. InterVarsity appealed to the college’s Student Wide Judiciary (SWJ), which, according to a report from the Christian Post, “ruled last month that it is ‘common sense’ and not discrimination for a religious group to want its leaders to agree with its core beliefs.”
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