Sexual Politics: InterVarsity Group on Probation
A Tufts University student judiciary, attempting to resolve a discrimination charge, placed Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) on probation in October. The student judiciary also ruled that TCF should remain a recognized and funded student group on campus.
The seven-member Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ) unanimously decided that TCF, a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), violated the university's nondiscrimination policy in its treatment of lesbian student Julie Catalano, who wanted to be one of the group's senior leaders. The group was cleared of two other charges.
TCF will be on probation for the remainder of the current academic year and, in accord with the ruling, has submitted a revised constitution to the TCUJ. The revised constitution clarifies the theologically conservative and evangelical nature of TCF.
The fall ruling stemmed from an appeal filed by TCF, which the Boston-area university first banished last April. The decision to banish the group, which grabbed national headlines, was reversed on procedural grounds in May.
Both sides presented their cases during a hearing in October. From this hearing, the Tufts judiciary decided TCF's process for selecting leaders was fair because the group expected both homosexual and heterosexual members to oppose homosexual practice.
The TCUJ found that TCF held a double standard by denying Catalano a leadership position while accepting Ohene Asare, a heterosexual who was a senior leader in 1999. (TCUJ concluded that Ohene agrees with Catalano's view that Scripture does not prohibit homosexual practice.)
Both David French, a lecturer at Cornell Law School who served as the group's legal counsel, and Jonathan Crowe, current TCF senior leader, deny the charge of ...