CSU Bans InterVarsity Christian Fellowship


The California State University system has banned the local chapters of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at its campuses over issues regarding adherence to Christian beliefs.

The evangelical Christian group with 860 chapters in the United States mandates leaders to follow Christian beliefs. As a result, leadership ranks are automatically closed to non-christian and gay members.

The university system said that InterVarsity's leadership policy clashes with state-authorized nondiscrimination policy that requires membership and leadership in all official student groups be open to all.

"For an organization to be recognized, they must sign a general nondiscrimination policy," said Mike Uhlencamp, director of public affairs for the California State University system. "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," Huffington Post reports.

InterVarsity spokesman Greg Jao said that the ban will therefore not permit local chapters to access on-campus meeting rooms, student fairs and other official school functions.

"We are not disbanding them, they have not been removed from any of our campuses," Uhlencamp said. "They are just not an officially recognized student organization. They will still have access to meeting rooms, they just will not receive as steep a discount."

The decision to "de-recognise" the group comes from a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allowed public colleges to reject a religious student organization if its religious beliefs are biased.

The International Christian student group, established in the United States since 1947, has been disapproved by over 40 college campuses. Other schools including the Vanderbilt University, Rollins College and the Tufts University have condemned InterVarsity.

However, some campuses have reached an agreement with InterVarsity that allows chapters to remain on certain campuses. For example: Ohio State University redrafted its student organization registration guidelines that reads, "A student organization formed to foster or affirm the sincerely held religious beliefs of its members may adopt eligibility criteria for its Student Officers that are consistent with those beliefs."

Other religious student groups have signed nondiscrimination policies including Jewish, Catholic, mainline Protestant and Muslim groups. Hillel, the largest Jewish student organization, has allowed some non-Jews designated to some posts.

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