Vanderbilt struggles to make sense of Non-Discrimination PolicyApparently, to be truly "non-discriminitory" can't use any judgement at all regarding how campus groups choose their leaders. I can understand that a student group should not be able to exlcude someone from joining the group, but the leadership of that group should (you would think) reflect the expressed purpose or vision of that group.
Of course, the article doesn't mention actual examples of religious groups being stuck with non-religious leaders, but on kid with no Asian Heritage became an officer in the Asian American Student Association thanks to this policy.
There is the issue of "school funding". I'm really not sure if an organization like the Navigators gets school funding other than the "funding" associated with powering the boiler to keep the room that they use warm. But even with that, the fact that there are Christian groups AND other religious/non-religious groups on campus should be the measure for what consistitutes whether or not a school is discriminating. If a school has 6 Christian groups but doesn't allow for a Jewish/Hindu/atheist group, that would seem different.
It will be interesting to see where this goes. I couldn't imaging having the Eau Claire Navigators lead by anyone other than someone who was endorsed/approved by not only the students in the Navigators, but also the Navigators organization as a whole.
As a side note, one outspoken student in this story is Aaron Rodgers' brother, who is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. So it sort of has some local ties.
View External Link [www.npr.org]
Back to Link List
|Jeremy - Super Chocolate Bear|
|The article doesn't actually say how people become leaders. Presumable an Atheist can't just declare himself FCA president. Not allowed to exclude them, and forced to vote for/nominate them, are two different things.|
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
Right, that's what I meant by there not being any examples of such a scenario of a religious group ending up with an inappropriate leader. If I remember right at Eau Claire, even the Navigators had to have "officers" as a requirement for being an on-campus organization. And for the most part, these officers were simply the vessel for communicating to the University things like lining up the room we met in, or getting approval for what kinds of advertising we displayed. These officers were indeed voted on by the group's members (i'm pretty sure we voted, but I don't think we ever had more than 1 candidate at for any position), so if the group has any legitimacy to it there really isn't much fear in a large group of Christians being thwarted by an atheist becoming their president, because they wouldn't vote for him.
The slippery slope that isn't really likely is that it would be possible for a vigilient group of opposition could "join" whatever group they wanted, nominate a leader for a group, and then outvote the rest of the regular members. Obviously this is the storyline we should be paying attention to.
Personally, I would say until there is actually a case where a religious group actually gets stuck with someone in a leadership position who is, let's say" incompatible with the visions or beliefs of the group, this does seem to pose a huge risk to the status quo.
|Scott perfected this 2 times, last at 03/23/2012 10:32:37 am|
|Jeremy - 8953 Posts|
Well, worst case scenario, lets say a person who openly worships satan gets an officer position at Navigators....even then what does that actually mean?
You're not somehow forced into doing what they say.
|Scott - Resident Tech Support|
|Right. And and the "leaders" in this regard are nothing more than administrators. It would say nothing about who the director (from outside the university) would be, nor would have anything to do with what types of "positions" within the group (like bible study leaders or whatnot). I seems like it might sound worse than it is, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out. It doesn't seem absurd to suggest that this doesn't pass the smell test: requiring any campus group regardless of affiliation to allow anyone and everyone to be eligible for leadership positions.|
|Jeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.|
It just means official support can't go towards officially exclusionary groups, there's nothing it can do about "unofficially" exclusionary groups. Even if atheists/devil worshipers/musilms/Hindus/etc make an effort to overrun Navs, to get the votes needed for a non christian "leader", the Christians can still do their own thing 90% of the time. I assume there are no rules about who you have to allow into your dorm room to read the Bible.
Not to mention getting a different "take" on it might even be a good thing. Actually having to ponder your beliefs through the lens of a non believer who's found a contradiction they want explained, or something, might strengthen your beliefs more than getting together with a group that already believes the same thing not challenging anyone on anything other than possibly a suspicion that someone doesn't think Jesus was quite awesome enough.
|Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 03/23/2012 12:00:51 pm|
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
I certainly agree with the 2nd paragraph to a certain degree. Navs wasn't even a "non-denominational" group, it was "interdenominational" group. There were certainly some people in that group that weren't Christian; possibly attending because they had friends there or were just curious. The Nav director when I was there regularly met with students from other non-christian groups, or just individual students. So I think at least with my experience with Navs, there was no exclusion whatsoever in terms of who could participate. And since the leadership of those groups is essentially decided upon by the members, it shouldn't be an issue.
From what I understand, the issue blew up at Vandy because students were actually asked to leave a student organization because they were gay. While I don't know much about the actual organization, this might be an understanable breach in "if you want to be a unversity approved on campus organization you have to be open to all students" protocol. Allowing groups to be discretionary with their leaders seems different.
|Scott screwed with this at 03/23/2012 12:01:42 pm|
|Jeremy - 8953 Posts|
|It might be different, but it's also less of a concern. As we've discussed, that's going to play out naturally. And if the group gets too overrun by whatever group you don't like, you can always leave and start another one. The person who hates gays so much he can't be in Navs with one has no more "right" to be in Navs than the gay kid.|
|Jeremy edited this 3 times, last at 03/23/2012 12:05:39 pm|