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TN Legislature Slams Vanderbilt Over Religious Liberty Violations

With its ongoing efforts to deny student religious groups the right to select their leaders according to their own beliefs, Vanderbilt University has raised serious questions about its commitment to religious liberty and freedom of association. This week the Tennessee state legislature issued a letter of warning, reminding Vanderbilt that the legislature has the right to regulate institutions that, like Vanderbilt, consume millions of dollars in public funds annually.

The university has decided that its religious organizations are subject to a so-called “all-comers” policy and must be open to non-Christian leadership. At the same time, it has exempted the university’s powerful Greek organizations — allowing the campus’s most discriminatory groups to exist unmolested…

Vanderbilt, like many large private universities, receives staggering amounts of public funds. At the same time, however, it believes that it should receive that funding as an entitlement — treating its students and the public however it wishes while feeding at the taxpayer trough…

Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“We acknowledge that private institutions such as Vanderbilt University have the freedom to establish its associations and maintain the integrity of its institutional mission. As such, the University has the right to adopt and apply an “all-comers” policy for student organizations. But the state has a right not to subsidize any part of the operations of those organizations, like Vanderbilt University, that engage in unequal treatment of individuals and organizations, the effect of which is religious discrimination.”

David French has more on this story at National Review Online.

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