Vanderbilt Univ. accused of targeting religious groups

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some students are accusing Vanderbilt University of unfairly targeting religious groups, The Tennessean has reported.

The private university has asked about 12 groups, including five religious ones, to come into compliance with its nondiscrimination policy, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The groups have been given provisional status and could lose their official recognition if they don’t comply with the policy.

The university said in a statement that school officials “are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students,” the newspaper reported.

But some students say the university has singled them out unfairly because of their beliefs.

“Vanderbilt has launched an assault on religious groups on campus,” Stephen Siao, president of Vanderbilt College Republicans, told The Tennessean.

Vanderbilt’s chapter of the Christian Legal Society, meanwhile, “has rewritten its bylaws to include language that supports the university’s diversity policies,” the newspaper reported. But members say they object to the university’s request that they no longer require the club president to lead Bible studies.

“Our group will no longer be able to exist,” law student Justin Gunter, one of the club’s leaders, told the newspaper.

Fox News has also reported on the controversy.