InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and five other evangelical groups still hope to reverse Georgetown University's August decision to eject them from the Washington, D.C., campus.
Protestant chaplain Constance Wheeler notified the evangelical groups on August 14 that they would not be allowed to advertise Georgetown as a ministry site or sponsor events such as Bible studies and worship services. If the 300 affiliated students wanted to continue meeting as members of those organizations, she said, they would need to meet off campus.
"While we realize this comes as a great disappointment," Wheeler told them in the letter, "please know we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord."
InterVarsity president Alec Hill, whose daughter attends Georgetown, noted the discontinuity between the decision and the school's commitment to diversity.
"As a parent, I am surprised Georgetown as a major university would close down freedom of association for their students," Hill said. "That seems contrary to Georgetown's ethos. It's an open marketplace of ideas."
Georgetown spokesman Erik Smulson said the Catholic university wants to build its own Protestant ministry, rather than relying on outside groups.
Georgetown InterVarsity leader Kevin Offner said the chaplains have been nervous about evangelicals for the past few years.
"The thing that really felt hurtful is when they go to the press and say, 'We're restructuring,'" Offner said. "The reality is they've made it very hard on the evangelical groups in the past two years. They could've just said, 'There's just tension.'"
One chaplain told the groups they were being dismissed because the college could not control what they did or said, according to Chi Alpha Georgetown ...1