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Published on 19 April, 2012

Students respond to threatening ‘anti-discrimination’ policy at Vanderbilt

USA (MNN) — Students all across the Vanderbilt University campus handed out 4,000 MP4 players loaded with one video yesterday. Today, the same group of students will be meeting with the Tennessee university's board.

The reason for the hype? An anti-discrimination policy that's being called discriminatory.

In late 2010, Vanderbilt changed a school policy to include a stricter anti-discrimination code. Essentially, the school's idea was that any student should be able to lead any group. If they're prohibited from doing so, it's discrimination.

The problem is: a large number of groups are discriminatory by nature. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship invites anyone and everyone to come to their meetings, but when it comes to leadership, that's a different story. Leaders have to at least be Christians, not to mention adhere to a number of other ethical and spiritual codes.

Religious groups aren't the only groups with such specifications. As the student, alumni, and faculty stars of the MP4 video point out, sororities would never induct a male president, and fraternities would never allow a female leader either. The video claims Vanderbilt has not, however, gone after Greek organizations. It seemingly has honed in on religious groups.

That could mean the end of groups like InterVarsity on campus.

"For InterVarsity specifically, because our constitution says that leaders of InterVarsity chapters have to be Christians and practice their Christian walk, we would be sent off campus because of that," InterVarsity's Andrew Ginsberg told MNN two months ago, following a meeting to decide InterVarsity's fate.

The meeting was inconclusive, but now students have begun their own campaign to put an end to the religious discrimination.

Yesterday, students distributed 4,000 MP4 players to students, faculty, and staff from 10 locations on Vanderbilt's campus. These MP4 players featured a seven-minute video presenting the response of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and alumni to the administration's expanded non-discrimination policy. (View the video here.)

Last night, students, faculty, alumni, and concerned friends gathered for a prayer service at the Student Life Center Courtyard to worship and pray that God would bless administrators and the Board of Trust with wisdom. They also prayed that God would prepare the hearts of those in the faith community to respond in a way that reflects Christ, no matter what the outcome.

Today, students have invited board members to a barbecue lunch in the Student Life Center Courtyard. They ask for prayer that some board members would attend and that good conversations might take place between students and board members.

Religious freedoms are increasingly being attacked in the United States. Pray that the Gospel would prevail.

Follow InterVarsity students' progress at Vanderbilt here.

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