- (Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
Reports from Yale University indicate that the largest Christian fraternity in the nation is struggling to attain official recognition at the prestigious school because its religion-based bylaws conflict with the school's non-discrimination policy.
Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX), the largest Christian fraternity in the nation, opened its new chapter at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in mid-September. Just days after its opening, however, the school newspaper reported that the fraternity "will have to change its membership rules if it intends to comply with Yale's anti-discrimination policies."
The fraternity only allows men who are Christian to join, although it welcomes all students to its events.
"If somebody was interested in the group and was not Christian … unfortunately, we would not allow them to be able to rush the chapter," Victor Hicks, a 2015 graduate and the chapter's founder and president, told the student-run newspaper Yale Daily News.
"Being a brother of the fraternity is being a Christian. It's one of the requirements," Hicks added.
Yale's non-discrimination policy does not allow student groups to carry the Yale name if they in any way discriminate against "sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, or national or ethnic origin," although, as Christian student news source World on Campus points out, there are exceptions, such as the student group Yale Law Women barring men from membership.
Without mentioning BYX in particular, John Meeske, Yale's associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, told Yale Daily News that "exclusivity on the basis of religion is against Yale's anti-discrimination policies."
Being recognized as a student group at Yale University offers several benefits, including using the Yale name, receiving grant money, participating in school events, and access to various school resources, including on-campus buildings.
This recent issue over Yale's non-discrimination policy is reminiscent of Vanderbilt University's own guidelines. The private college in Nashville, Tenn., holds a stringent "all-comers policy" in its student organizations, similar to Yale's non-discrimination policy.
Several student-run religious organizations on the Vanderbilt campus lost their student group recognition because their constitutional bylaws required members of the organization to abide by a particular religious creed.
As Yale Daily News points out, this is not the first time the Christian BYX fraternity has had to battle a university's non-discrimination policy.
The fraternity has previously clashed with the University of Florida, University of Missouri, and the University of Georgia. All of these schools eventually chose to alter their non-discrimination policies to allow BYX to be a school-recognized student organization.
According to World on Campus, it is still unclear if a compromise will be worked out between BYX and Yale University officials.
If the Christian fraternity does make it through the fall, it will begin rushing students in Spring 2013 with the 11 other fraternities on campus.