More Discrimination Against Christians in the University of Wisconsin System
Student leaders at the University of Wisconsin-Superior have a thorny question this fall.Of course, any “nondiscrimination” requirement used against Christians is going to be suspect, since “discrimination” is usually fine when the bureaucrats at a university like it. Several UW campuses, for example, have an active Greek system consisting of all male fraternities and all female sororities.
Is the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s requirement that its student officers support Christian doctrines common sense or discrimination?
At stake is the fellowship’s status as a student organization, its eligibility for student funds and the possibility of a lawsuit.
“That’s not something we would prefer to do, but it is an option,” said Alec Hill, president of the national fellowship.
ICF has had a UWS chapter for about 40 years. The evangelical group was incorporated in 1941.
“We’re on about 560 campuses around the country,” Hill said. “We’re involved with about 33,000 students and faculty. We have a lot of students who go to urban projects and serve the poor.”
The organization has no membership requirements, Hill said.
“But we require student leaders to sign a statement of faith,” he said. “It is our belief that in order for us to truly be who we are, our student leaders need to be Christian.”
“Imagine young Republicans or young Democrats not being able to require that their leaders are indeed Republicans or Democrats,” Hill said.
The UWS student government decides which groups to recognize as student organizations or formal groups. Organizations are eligible for student funds. Groups are not, but can use university facilities.
Last year some student leaders felt the ICF’s officers requirement discriminates against non-Christians, meaning the organization shouldn’t receive student money.
“InterVarsity’s status was left pending” last year, said Stefan Fletcher, who became UWS’s student president in May. “They weren’t officially denied recognition.”
And programs limited to minorities are widespread throughout academia.
This is another case of an increasing bias against Christians in the UW system.