A longstanding Christian organization at a university in Massachusetts has been banned from the school. School officials claim some of the organizations requirements violate the school's non-discriminatory policy by having members adhere to "biblical truths of Christianity."
Tufts University in Medford, Mass. banned Tufts Christian Fellowship after the university's student-led Community Union Judiciary deemed the requirement listed in the organizations constitution violated the university's non-discrimination policies.
The complaint was first logged by a student who claimed that she was denied a leadership role within the organization due to the fact that she was a lesbian.
The final decision came as leaders with the Christian group refused to revise their governing document Oct. 18. That action, first suggested in the first week of October, would have been supported by the Tufts Community Union Constitution's non-discriminatory clause, Judiciary Chair Adam Sax told Tuffs Daily.
Officials within the Judiciary had previously stated that should Tufts Christian Fellowship revise their constitution or remove leadership requirements that were deemed to be discriminatory by Oct. 18, they would accepted by the university.
The group's Vision and Planning team felt that they could not, in good faith, remove or revise those specific leadership requirements and abandon their Christian standards. Their refusal led to the Judiciary's final decision.
The Judiciary ruled that the organization's constitution prevented students from applying to leadership positions based on their beliefs. The disputed clause states that any TCF member who wants to apply for a leadership position must live by a series of tenets called a Basis of Faith, which had been described as the "basic Biblical truths of Christianity."
The decision means that the group will lose all rights and privileges to use the Tufts name in its title or any of their activities or events. It also will prevent the organization from reserving space through the school's Office of Campus Life.
Tufts Christian Fellowship will also be barred from receiving funds that are collected from students and used only for student groups.
Leaders from the Christian group have declared they will appeal the Judiciary's decision. They contend that as a Christian organization, they are allowed to put in place guidelines that would be concurrent with the stated mission of the organization.
"We're deciding to appeal this decision because we feel like just the purpose of our organization is to ... encourage understanding and celebration of each belief … the best way to fulfill that purpose is to have leaders that are centered on and unified by these beliefs," a member of the group who wished to remain anonymous told Tufts Daily.
"We feel like we have the right to be selective on the basis of belief for our leaders since we're a student group that is trying to encourage understanding about a faith-based set of beliefs," the unnamed student added.