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Christan Groups React to Vandy Policy Changes

Vanderbilt University
A statue of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt in front of Kirkland Hall on the VU campus.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Registered campus groups at Vanderbilt University are no longer permitted to bar students who don't share the groups' mission or beliefs from leadership positions.

That non-discrimination policy was reiterated at a packed campus meeting Tuesday night. A university spokesperson says all students must be able to join a student group and run for leadership positions in order for it to be registered.

Several Christian groups have complained the policy could allow a Muslim to lead a Jewish group or put a Republican in charge of a Democratic club. Vanderbilt responds that members are unlikely to choose such a leader, but must be free to do so.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is one of the groups placed on provisional status by Vandy for requiring that their leaders accept and follow biblical precepts.  Gordon Govier is an InterVarsity spokesman.

"We're going to try to work with the university and not compromise our Christian beliefs, but try to find a way to stay on campus in good graces with the university. If we're not allowed to do that, we will continue to have ministry some way or another at Vanderbilt."

Govier says Christian groups are starting to see this same policy enforced on a number of campuses nationwide.