Vanderbilt Intolerant of Religious Freedom
by Fr. John Sims Baker, Chaplain
I need to ask for your prayers for the future of Vanderbilt Catholic and of religious life in general at Vanderbilt.
You may have heard in the media of the recent controversial decision by Vanderbilt University to place some religious groups under provisional review.
Here’s what I know: Vanderbilt University is reviewing how it applies its non-discrimination policy to student groups. At this writing, the University is maintaining that all student groups, including religious groups, must be open to all students for participation and for leadership. Some religious groups have been put on provisional approval because their constitutions were found to be in violation of this policy. And while Vandy Catholic is one of the groups approved by the university, we are united with all the other campus religious groups (approved or not), in agreement that leaders of religious groups must be practitioners of the faith professed by each group.
In September Fox News reported that Vandy Catholic changed our constitution in order to comply with the change in university policy. This is not accurate. Our constitution was found to be in compliance by the university, but we did not alter our constitution in order to gain approval. We interpret our constitution to recognize that only faithful, practicing Catholic students qualify for leadership of Vanderbilt Catholic. It is all that we have ever had in leadership, and it is implicit in our mission.
Check out vandycatholic.blogspot..com/ 2011/09/well-take-our-stand.html.
Please pray that Vanderbilt University will continue to be welcoming to robust expressions of religious faith as practiced by Vanderbilt Catholic and other religious groups on campus.