Vanderbilt University has issued a statement regarding its registered student organizations after complaints that the school's non-discrimination policy discriminated against religious groups on campus.

Vanderbilt had asked nearly a dozen organizations to comply with a policy banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Five of the eight organizations that have failed to comply are religious-based groups.

The university began its assessment after a gay student was dismissed from a Christian fraternity last year.


The full statement below:

One of the requirements to be a registered student organization at Vanderbilt is that student organizations’ constitutions be in compliance with the university’s nondiscrimination policy and that they sign a statement that they will comply with the policy. Some student religious organizations have

raised concerns about how the policy might affect eligibility for leadership positions within their organizations. As a result of those concerns, we are exploring the issue.

We are still in discussions and no decisions have been made – any information to the contrary is just speculation at this point. We have 380 student organizations currently registered at Vanderbilt. Of the 36 religious student groups registered, 31 are in compliance. Among the other registered student organizations, 344 are in compliance. Currently, only eight registered student organizations are not in compliance with the university’s nondiscrimination policy – of these eight, only five are religious student groups.

Those student organizations not in compliance with the university’s nondiscrimination policy have been placed on provisional status, meaning they have the same full access to the Vanderbilt campus as they have had in the past while the university continues to listen to and discuss their concerns. We are committed to finding a solution to this issue.

Student groups that wish to practice their faith are welcome at Vanderbilt; however, it is incumbent upon them to decide whether they wish to become registered student organizations at the university.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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