The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) discussed Vanderbilt University’s controversial religious “non-discrimination” policy at its summer conference.
According to Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director at FIRE, colleges that utilize all-comers policies are actually inadvertently limiting the ability for campuses to engage in fully open, free conversations — an effect that is seemingly counter-productive to the intent of such policies.
“All-comers policies seem to be making a diversity in organizations rather than diversity of organizations,” Cohn said. “FIRE believes that in order for campuses to have full conversations about issues, organizations need to be able to form around beliefs and be able to speak freely about those beliefs.”
…The debate surrounding the policy rose to national attention when religious groups on the Vanderbilt campus claimed that the policy, which was implemented and enforced following a student complaint about being removed from a religious organization because of his sexuality, infringed upon their ability to function as belief-based groups…
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