August 15, 2012
InterVarsity Re-Instated As New York University Decides Leadership Policy Is "Common Sense, Not Discrimination"
SUNY Buffalo student judiciary rules religious clubs can hold leaders accountable.
In the continuing saga of whether or not Christian student groups violate college anti-discrimination policies, the State University of New York at Buffalo has re-recognized InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) as an official student organization, just in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year.
After being de-recognized as a club amid a leadership scandal earlier this year, IVCF regained official status on July 27. SUNY Buffalo’s Student-Wide Judiciary ruled that it is "common sense, not discrimination” for a religious group to want its leaders to agree with its core beliefs.
According to the SUNY Student Association policy, an organization cannot exclude students from becoming members. IVCF requires its student officer to agree with the organization’s doctrinal and purpose statements, but has no restrictive membership clause.
SUNY Buffalo had been investigating IVCF since December 2011. The student senate suspended IVCF operations on campus in December 2011 after student newspaper The Spectrum reported that IVCF pressured one of the club’s leaders to resign because he is gay. IVCF was officially de-recognized as a club in April, but July’s student judiciary ruling overturns that suspension.
IVCF will not receive allotted club funding or office space for the school year, as the Student Association has already set its budget. However, IVCF may apply for funds by submitting a proposal. IVCF previously had a $6,000 budget.
Campuses nationwide have wrestled with similar issues since the Supreme Court's controversial Christian Legal Society v. Martinez verdict in 2009, followed by a similar Ninth Circuit Court ruling last year.
CT previously reported that IVCF had been de-recognized at SUNY Buffalo, and that IVCF has undergone similar scrutiny at Vanderbilt University. how campus ministries need different defenses at private schools.