CSU bans campus Christian group
September 10, 2014
The California State University system has banned a popular campus Christian group, which has a chapter at Cal Poly, for refusing to allow non-Christians to serve in leadership roles in the organization. [Huffington Post]
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which has chapters at 19 of the 23 CSU campuses, will lose its official recognition by the various universities as well as its ability to participate in student fairs and to rent facilities at reduced rates. A CSU spokesman said that the university system gave InterVarsity about a year to comply with a nondiscrimination policy, but the campus Christian group refused to do so.
“For an organization to be recognized, they must sign a general nondiscrimination policy,” said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlencamp. “We have engaged with [InterVarsity] for the better part of a year and informed them they would have to sign a general nondiscrimination statement. They have not.”
Following a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined public colleges can refuse to recognize religious groups with discriminatory beliefs, InterVarsity has faced recognition challenges at more than 40 universities. CSU is the largest institution yet to ban the organization.
InterVarsity policy opens membership to anyone, but requires those in leadership roles to affirm their belief in the entire trustworthiness of the bible.
“We don’t believe we can affirm a policy that forces us to compromise Gospel faith and Christian integrity without undermining our commitment to help students become real world changers, not just world accommodators,” InterVarsity spokesman Greg Jao said in response to the CSU ruling.
Jao said the decision to remove university recognition will costs individual chapters about $20,000 a year.
Prior to the ruling, the Cal Poly chapter was still planning on participating in the upcoming Week of Welcome club fair, according to the organization’s website. An August 1 post stated that the chapter will have a huge InterVarsity tent at the club showcase.