Guest / Limited Access /
Mixed Views on Vanderbilt Veto
Mixed Views on Vanderbilt Veto

Vanderbilt University will stand by its "all-comers" policy for student groups next fall, after a veto from Tennessee governor Bill Haslam in May stopped popular legislation that sought to block it.

The policy requires student groups to open membership and leadership positions to all. The legislation, which passed both state houses easily, would have instructed Tennessee's public universities—and Vanderbilt—to drop "all-comers" policies or extend them to now-exempt fraternities and sororities.

While Haslam disagrees with the policy, he said government interference in the policies of private institutions was inappropriate.

"It was the wrong decision," said Christian Legal Society (CLS) counsel Kim Colby. Christian groups should be able to require student leaders to be Christians, she said.

CLS is one of 15 Christian groups that refused to sign the new policy. The groups include more than 1,400 students. But some religious groups at Vanderbilt agreed with the veto.

"If you try to use [legislation] to force a private [school] to do something, that could come back to our evangelical colleges and seminaries," said Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) national coordinator Rod Mays. "People aren't really thinking through this process carefully to understand this could hurt us."

The campus ministry is led by an ordained chaplain and doesn't depend on student leaders, so RUF has signed the policy.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has recently been challenged at 41 campuses, said national field director Greg Jao. Much of what colleges want in an all-comers policy is laudable, he said. But what has gone wrong is lack of appreciation for the truth claims of faith organizations.

"Our position is informed in part by our understanding ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedBob Jones University Apologizes for Failing Sexual Abuse Victims
Bob Jones University Apologizes for Failing Sexual Abuse Victims
(UPDATED) 300-page GRACE report recommends BJU impose 'corrective action' on chancellor Robert Jones III.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Mixed Views on Vanderbilt Veto
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.