Original. Student reported. Your daily dose of Right-minded news and commentary from across the nation
Targeted By Anti-Discrimination Policy, Christian Students Speak Out

Plans by the California State University system’s leaders to reject Christian campus organizations because they won’t let non-Christians lead their groups is causing concern among some students who say the policy is unfair, illogical and overbearing.

“How can we effectively teach people?” Ashley Pierce, a Bible study leader in the Chinese Christian Fellowship at California Polytechnic State University, said in an interview with The College Fix. “It’s a stupid rule; it has no place in Christian groups.”

Pierce said the policy would effectively force her campus group to accept non-Christians in leadership positions that require faith-based elements such as praying and evangelism.

“Their job is to lead prayers, lead Bible studies, in some cases preaching,” Pierce said. “If you’re an atheist or agnostic, you’re going to have struggles, but you won’t have Christian struggles. You can’t give real-life examples and pour into it as someone living the faith would.”

But that’s exactly what Christian groups would be forced to do if they want to enjoy campus support in the future. Either that, or give up student government funding and hosting campus events without paying rent.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White is preparing to withdraw official recognition this summer from evangelical groups that “are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders,” The New York Times reports.

CSU is the largest university system in the country, with nearly 447,000 students on 23 campuses.

Other universities have made such moves, but nothing as massive as the CSU system. Other campuses, such as Vanderbilt UniversityTufts University and Bowdoin College, have approved similar policies.

Losing official recognition can carry a steep price.

At Chico State University, part of the CSU system, the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship campus chapter will no longer be eligible for revenue sharing – $300 to $600 a year of the club’s budget, team leader Liz Thrasher Wheatley told the Chico Enterprise-Record.

Wheatley said it can cost up to $500 per week for meeting space on campus as an unrecognized club. But, she added, “We really feel strongly that we need to have a doctrinal basis for our leaders to adhere to.”

Atheists ‘Won’t Have Christian Struggles’

The Christian groups on California Polytechnic State University’s campus will also be negatively affected by this policy, Pierce said, adding she is speaking on her behalf own and not the clubs.

Pierce’s fellowship includes many members who are not Christians, but the leadership is restricted to Christians because the club requires leaders to live out their faith, she said.

Should the Chinese Christian Fellowship not abide by the CSU policy, which was approved in 2011 but not enforced immediately against religious groups, the club would lose student government funding and hosting events on campus would no longer be free.

Since the fellowship meets off campus, Pierce thinks that refusing to follow the policy wouldn’t be a significant blow to the club. But it would hamper the club with on-campus events and be more serious to other Christian clubs that do meet on campus.

“I don’t know how they would go about reserving (a room on campus) anymore,” Pierce said.

Pierce said she hopes campus Christian groups stand firm against the new policy, or at least petition for an exemption or look for other loopholes.

“A lot of the Christian groups might be timid to speak out on this,” Pierce said. “They want to be loving and not viewed as discriminatory, as a lot of Christians are stereotyped as. I hope they stand together on this and say no.”

Pierce thinks CSU Chancellor White holds to “this stereotype that we’re going to leave gays out, Jews out, Muslims out, but in actuality we want to give everyone the opportunity to be loved and hear the message of Jesus Christ.”

Though White “wants everyone to feel included,” Pierce said she wants to hear why he “thinks we’re such a problem.”

‘All-comers’ policies wreak havoc

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says the problem dates back to a 2010 Supreme Court decision, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which found that “public universities do not violate the First Amendment by requiring all recognized groups on campus to accept all students as members, regardless of whether or not they agree with (or are even hostile to) the group’s beliefs.”

Since then, so-called “all-comers” policies have wreaked havoc for religious groups. The friction largely stems from the religious groups’ views on homosexuality, and that they will not let students who do not share their religious views hold positions of leadership in the groups.

“So, for fans of diversity of belief on campus, here’s how all-comers policies end: Groups who feel it’s important to have belief-based requirements for membership—and to be honest about those requirements instead of engaging in de facto discrimination—are to be kicked off campus and denied even the ability to use the university’s name to identify their location,” explains Robert Shibley of FIRE. “For those who support diversity and pluralism on campus, it’s hard to see this as a beneficial development.”

College Fix contributor Aaron Bandler is a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Marquette University/Flickr

Add to the Discussion

  • Thad Gathright

    Mr. Spaude, I am in agreement with the general thrust of your essay. There is just one matter that I’d like to take exception to. You write: “The American Dream used to be defined as teaching young people that they have a shot in life, that they can be whatever they want to be, that they could work hard and achieve.” No young person, in my opinion, should be encouraged to believe that he or she can be whatever they want to be. That is just not realistic. Certainly you should be ambitious, and working hard is certainly one way of achieving your goal, but you must have the knowledge, skills and temperament that fit a certain job. I’d like to replace “American Dream,” with “American Ambition,” or just plain “success” in the greatest country in the world.

    • kktex12

      Thad, they have the RIGHT to work as hard as possible to achieve the dreams and goals. Nobody promised anybody a rose garden or that you could sit on your duff and achieve your goals.

  • Al

    Racist!

    I kid, I kid. Very nice article.

  • Brian Westley

    Pierce said the policy would effectively force her campus group to accept non-Christians in leadership positions that require faith-based elements such as praying and evangelism.

    What a stupid remark — leaders aren’t forced on student groups, they are generally elected by the members of that group.

    This policy doesn’t just affect Christian groups; atheist groups would have to have leadership positions open to Christians, for example. But instead of whining, I suspect the atheist groups simply wouldn’t elect a Christian as a leader.

    Schools are just insuring that recognized student groups allow everyone to join and lead those groups instead of excluding some people from the outset.

    It’s just Christians whining for special rights.

    • Publius

      Oh please. Where is the logic behind non-Christians leading Christian groups? I forgot- “equality” must once again carry the day. Policies like this defy reason. It’s like the Catholic Church allowing a Jew, Muslim, or Protestant to be the Pope. Please, if you want to force religious groups to allow leaders from a different sect or a different religion you need a more compelling reason than “inclusion” and hurt feelings.

      • Brian Westley

        Oh please. Where is the logic behind non-Christians leading Christian groups?

        Why would a non-Christian be elected?

        I forgot- “equality” must once again carry the day.

        Only if your group wants official recognition.

        It’s like the Catholic Church allowing a Jew, Muslim, or Protestant to be the Pope.

        Only if they decide to elect one.

        Please, if you want to force religious groups to allow leaders from a different sect or a different religion you need a more compelling reason than “inclusion” and hurt feelings.

        No, they really don’t. Schools can really say that only student groups that allow any member of the student body to join and lead groups will be recognized as official student groups. Some schools fund official school groups, which are paid for by all student’s fees, for example, which is a valid reason to only recognize groups that allow all students.

        Now, this rule covers all student groups, but only Christians seem to be whining about wanting to exclude certain undesirables. They can do that, they just won’t be recognized as an official student group. I suggest they suck it up.

        • Frank

          ‘Why would a non-Christian be elected?’ Pro-gay activists are so rabid–they’ve harassed people at their work, tried to get them fired, forced them to take part in their ‘weddings’–they could easily bring in voters en masse and replace whole leadership structures with anti-Christian gay supremacists.

          ‘Now, this rule covers all student groups, but only Christians seem to be whining about wanting to exclude certain undesirables.’ Expressing a desire to have Christian leaders to lead a Christian group is only logical–it’s only ‘whining’ in left wing nut job land. Here’s a good example of whining, from the extreme left wing (these days, that’s everyone left of John McCain: http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/06/18/socialist-students-try-bar-right-wing-blogger-recording-public-meeting-university/

          ‘Only if your group wants official recognition.’ This is, of course, just another attack on groups that dare to refuse the left wing gospel, that is, celebrating and normalizing homosexuality; an attack that you’re attempting to perpetuate.

          • Brian Westley

            I’m unconvinced by your paranoia.

    • Peter4Hegemon

      Interesting name for a man who hates Christians. U is the idiot here.

    • MichaelStamper

      Recognized student groups (or any other group) should be allowed to accept or reject any member they choose for any reason. Only in Obama’s America would the former right to free association be so decimated that people would (ludicrously) assert that a Christian group has no right to insist that their leaders be Christians.

      • Brian Westley

        Recognized student groups (or any other group) should be allowed to accept or reject any member they choose for any reason.

        Hey, fine that that’s your opinion, but universities can decide to only recognize student groups that allow everyone.

    • Curtis

      I don’t mean to offend you but that is actually incorrect. In some christian clubs, leadership positions like bible study leaders are not positions that are voted for. People are appointed to certain position like those and so having a bible study leader that does not believe what he is teaching or cannot give faith based examples in his or her life, simply would not be effective in bible studies. I do agree with that that this policy doesn’t just affect Christian groups because all faith-based groups in the csu system will be affected. It just happens that christian are the loudest. Using your example, atheist groups would not be allowed to reject a Christian from being a leader because that decision is made based on his/her religion background which would lead to a lawsuit for the school and the organization itself. If I was a Christian trying to apply for a leadership position for an atheist group, and I discovered (or in most cases are told by the interviewer) that I could not because of my religion background, I could sue for discrimination. This could happen for all other types of organizations like these as well. What could stop someone who doesn’t believe in that doctrine, from wanting to apply and then being rejected. This policy is just causing more of a mess. This policy is forcing discrimination on all organization. It simply does not make sense to allow someone who doesn’t believe in that club’s doctrine, to be able to apply for leadership. Though the chances of this actually happening is very slim, the possibility is what scares these organization. College is a place for people to explore themselves and this policy is being counter-productive towards that goal. This policy also removes the criteria for picking leaders because it takes it out, which is that the person needs to be grounded in that religion. In certain christian organizations like Intervarsity, student apply to be bible study leaders and student leaders, and a committee select those who they believe are capable of leading bible studies, based on where they are at in their life, availability, and how grounded they are in their Christian faith.

      • Brian Westley

        This policy is just causing more of a mess.

        Where? Do you have any real-world examples?

        And if leaders are appointed, who appoints them? Other members of the club? If so, why would they appoint a non-Christian? If people outside the club appoint them, how can a club hope to have any kind of ‘doctrine’ if leaders are appointed by an outsider?

        This whole thing is just Christians whining about not being able to exclude people, particularly gays.

        • Alex

          The leaders are appointed by representatives from the national organization (because most Christian clubs are linked to a national entity). How can you not see that if a non-Christian applied to be a leader, he could sue if he is not appointed? Most national entity are known by the public and put their doctrine out in public for anyone to analyze and see and most of them are still around because they are sound and everyone agrees with them.

          This whole thing is ABOUT schools trying to protect themselves from lawsuits by forcing everyone to agree to their terms. It seems like you are mixing up not allowing people to be member and leaders. All clubs do extend members to anyone interested. 20% of the members of most christian clubs are non-Christians and have no background in the religion itself. The same can be said about mostly other religion clubs. Anyone can join. Wanting to be a leader of these religion clubs is different. It is expected that the leaders are people that follow and believe in the religion and comfortable with it to the point that they are able to teach others that are interested in it. The policy prevents these types of clubs from having that as a criteria. For example, if an christian wanted to apply for any other leadership position for an atheist club on campus and was not appointed, he could easily sue the club and claim that the reason that he could not appointed or elected was because of his religious background. The same can be said the other way around. With this new policy, these clubs can not have that sort of criteria so how are they suppose to elect or appoint leaders without being allow to use their main qualification? Plus, if a Christian was a leader of an atheist club, would not stir up trouble for the club itself and also affect the ideals of the clubs itself since the Christian cannot fully agree with all the clubs ideas (because if he did, he wouldn’t be a Christian, but an atheist).

          Before you state that this is just Christians whining about not being allow to be exclusive, maybe you should take a step back and think from all sides of the argument. I have read all your comments and they seem to be carrying some disdain for Christians themselves. Have they wronged you in the past? I can assure you that the Christians that you know that are exclusive and gay-hating are only the minority but sadly, they are the loudest of the bunch. I know many Christians that have and care for their homosexual friends and do not treat them any differently then they would anyone else. Also, nowhere in the bible does it state that Christians are suppose to exclusive so those ‘Christians’ that you know are probably not following the bible correctly. It does state that we need to love and accept everyone equally because we are all equal and no one is better than the person next to them. All the Christian clubs at my college actually love it when they meet someone who isn’t Christian and love it even more when that person is interest/does come to their club meetings and bible studies because they bring in a refreshing and different way of reading the passage that is lacking when the entire group is Christian because for most non-Christians, it would be their first time reading the bible. Reading and studying the bible isn’t much different than reading and analyzing a section of a novel and interpreting what the writer is trying to say. The ONLY difference is that the meaning of the passage is spiritually-related and is (of course) about Christian living.

          So I hope that you just take a step back and look at it from all view points and without your own personal experience and disdain injected into it.

          • Alex

            also, though it is a small chance that all these scenarios could, it’s the possibility that scares these clubs because if it does happen, then what can these clubs do to protect themselves? I’m sure that members of an atheist club, you wouldn’t want someone who fully believes in religion to be one of your club leaders. But if that person wanted to become a leader and he has interpersonal and social skills, as well as hard working and determined but he disagrees with one of the club core’s belief then what could stop him or prevent him for suing if he does not get it? Would people really vote for someone who conflict with their core belief? But if they don’t, then they could be sued because of it.

          • Brian Westley

            also, though it is a small chance that all these scenarios could, it’s the possibility that scares these clubs because if it does happen, then what can these clubs do to protect themselves?

            If a national group wants to appoint a leader for a particular student group, why and how would they refuse? Shouldn’t they obey the national group?

            But if that person wanted to become a leader and he has interpersonal and social skills, as well as hard working and determined but he disagrees with one of the club core’s belief then what could stop him or prevent him for suing if he does not get it?

            Anyone can sue anyone for anything. So what?

            Would people really vote for someone who conflict with their core belief? But if they don’t, then they could be sued because of it.

            You don’t know how the US legal system works.

          • Brian Westley

            The leaders are appointed by representatives from the national organization (because most Christian clubs are linked to a national entity). How can you not see that if a non-Christian applied to be a leader, he could sue if he is not appointed?

            Anyone can sue anyone for anything, but I doubt it would get off the ground. How would someone prove such a thing? If there were two or more candidates for one position, could all the losers sue? That’s ridiculous.

            This whole thing is ABOUT schools trying to protect themselves from lawsuits by forcing everyone to agree to their terms.

            No, they have requirements in order to be an official student group. If you don’t like it, be an unofficial student group.

            Schools can have requirements for official student groups, just as student groups can have requirements for being members or leaders.

            All clubs do extend members to anyone interested.

            Every single club? I doubt that.

          • Carter

            You seem to be contradicting yourself a lot in what you are saying. Why don’t you actually state a consistent argument so I can take you seriously. Also, you are correct that every single club possibly does not but most do and it is also stated in most club’s mission statement.

          • Brian Westley

            You seem to be contradicting yourself a lot in what you are saying. Why don’t you actually state a consistent argument so I can take you seriously.

            You haven’t bothered to point out the inconsistent part, and I’m not going to try and guess.

  • sharon davis

    She must think we are stupid to believe her, she is in no way broke.

  • bob machaffy

    yeah and those very students will probably vote for her

  • rkball

    Diversity demands conformance. Tolerance brooks no dissent.

  • gerry d welder

    BREAKING! UN IS NOW HIRING FOR GUN GRABS!

    This likely coincides with this, using water as an excuse:

    Groups seek UN intervention in Detroit water shutoffs | The Detroit …

    http://www.detroitnews.com/ article/ 20140624/ METRO01/ 306240106/ Groups-seek-UN-intervention-Detroit-water-shutoffs

    And this, using border crossing as an excuse:

    U.N. Troops Coming To U.S. Mexico Border? | InvestmentWatch

    http://www.investmentwatchblog.com/u-n-troops-coming-to-u-s-mexico-border/

    U.N. Armored trucks caught traveling through GA on Interstate

  • bareshiyth

    Not to worry, she’ll be donating her $225K to a scholarship (and the $8000K book advance) to cover the tuition increase for some of the (Dem only, tho) students.

  • Hank

    UofN, she is not worth it. Get smart hire Condo. Rice, she is worth it !

  • mzk1_1

    So, basically, the college administration consists of frothing-at-the-mouth bigots. To be honest, I’m Jewish, and I really wish they would ban non-Christians from those groups altogether.

  • AugustineThomas

    Par for the course in Baby Murder Nation.

  • Peter4Hegemon

    Ryan, Glad to see more students are waking up. Yes, your generation was screwed over by leftists (I refuse to call them liberals). Just make sure to pay them
    back in full, and I think we can – maybe in 2014 and 2016 we can take away power from these corrupt idiots.

    And we should not stop there. We have to marginalize the whole movement, which has been growing since before the 1920’s with your Woodrow Wilson. (Come to think of it Princeton sucks – just kidding, you have the worlds best physics department, and no law school!)

    Well, finish your degree at Princeton, that and Harvard are the only worthwhile Ivies. Princeton had in the past a long history of spy work for the US, a lot of patriots.

    It only takes 5% to lead a nation. In the 1770’s most people in the colonies were against the Revolution, but a few decades later, boy were they glad. That is what leadership is, driving to a goal that you know people will eventually see as a very good thing.

    I saw the phrase “when I’m ready to retire”. Never think in those terms, save a lot and it will all work out. Make your career fun and hard work. Too wordy already, but consider writing your thesis on how to marginalize the leftist movement. Should generate some heat with your professors, but good. Then publish it, and your career is off to a good start!

  • Richard Youghn

    Is the club to be essentially a church? Will it hold services, promote evangelization, conduct prayer meetings & fulfill the mission of an off campus house of worship? Clubs should be for scholarly pursuits which draw interests from all students who wish to learn more about a matter rather than engaging their person religious beliefs to the exclusion of those content with their own states. Altho, I did not major in medeval history I joined one such club because I had an interest. A study of Chriistian history would be quite a different matter. If creating a church is the intent then choose another venue. My purpose in attending MIT was not spiritual, there were plenty of good Bible believing churches within campus reach. Student union dues should go toward education based subjects. I graduated in 1974 so forgive me if I am behind in how club sponsorships are supported today.

  • mark johnson

    vv… sharon davis, you clearly ARE stupid, “she” is a “he…” it might not hurt to 1) read the article 2) look at the name of the contributor, or 3) look at the picture in the article.
    well done, sharon, well done.

  • Navigator7

    Where do we send memorials?

  • Blanche

    Great article, well stated and laser focused on current American society. A society that has been taught that it’s ok to depend on government and not take the initiative to be self-reliant. Hope & Change have been a bad dream.

  • Colonel Joe

    Well, Ryan, all I can say is “your age group and educated (indoctrinated) peers asked for this. YOU (not you personally, but collectively) stood in lines and laughed and joked about “gonna vote for Obama, man! He’s cool!” But when asked what Obozo had “accomplished”, none of those interviewed could come up with a single accomplishment~~But Obama is cool, man!
    Now those “students” are graduates, unemployed, uneducated but thoroughly indoctrinated, and like the pResident, “Don’t have a clue”! But unlike the pResident, HE has a plan and is executing it flawlessly! He sucked YOU in, blew smoke up your butt and led YOU over the cliff like the Pied Piper!
    Another point~~you called Social Security an “Entitlement”~~~WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! Another of those promised “insurance” safeguards that YOU (and me, and millions of others) PAID into with the promise of a surety in our old age. Another Damnocrap Lyndon Johnson, couldn’t resist that “pot of gold” just sitting there in the “lockbox” and dumped it into the General Fund to be spent foolishly and without any thought of what it was doing to the “future”.
    The people have spoken (sometimes multiple times) in their votes and put into place these that have fostered and engendered the self-indulgence and instant gratification electorate we have today!
    When you go back to Princeton for your Junior year, perhaps you MIGHT want to engage your peers in some REAL soul searching, turn off the iPads, iPhones, and get YOUR COLLECTIVE HEADS OUT OF THE RECTAL CAVITIES and start thinking about the Future of the Country! A country with no future will GUARANTEE YOU will have no future.
    Seventy one percent of todays military aged males are TOTALLY UNFIT for military service. (Physically, morally, mentally). The military is also NOT the same as that which I gave over 36 years to, and lost a grandson (An Army Combat Medic) in Afghanistan for. God forgive us for throwing You under the bus You should be driving!
    Colonel Joe

  • jdelaney3

    So there really ARE Princeton students who haven’t been brainwashed. Refreshing.

  • DaveHuberCF

    Just a reminder to keep it civil in the comment thread, please. The deletions are becoming tiresome. We’d really prefer not to ban anyone from commenting.

    Thank you.