Is Vanderbilt’s Anti-Discrimination Policy Actually Anti-Religion, Anti-Free Speech?
Institute for Religion and Democracy
Washington, DC—A controversial policy forcing campus groups to permit any student to qualify for leadership has caused Vanderbilt University’s Catholic ministry to declare it must leave the campus to remain faithful to its principles.
The university’s newly-enforced policy requires “that all students are presumed to be eligible for membership in registered student organizations and that all organization members in good standing are eligible to compete for leadership positions,” according to Mark Bandas, Associate Provost and Dean of Students for Vanderbilt.
Founded in the 1870s by Methodists, Vanderbilt has a Christian history, although the private school has been largely secular for some time.
In 2011, Vanderbilt was criticized for requiring nursing students to participate in abortions. The school ultimately reversed course to accommodate pro-life students.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“No seriously religious group, or any seriously principled group, could comply with Vanderbilt’s oppressive ‘diversity’ policy.
“Hypocritically, Vanderbilt’s narrow version of ‘diversity’ compels homage to postmodern relativism.
“If this policy forces Catholics off campus through today, who else will be exiled tomorrow?
“Forcing religious groups to accept leaders who deny the group’s faith is especially absurd.
“All persons who believe in liberty of conscience and free speech should stand in solidarity with Vanderbilt’s departing Catholic ministry.”
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.
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