Christian Group Loses Recognition at California State University

California State University

Chi Alpha, also known as Stanislaus Christian Fellowship, recently lost its recognition as a formal student organization at California State University on grounds of religious discrimination.

Tim Lynch , Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, explained:

“All recognized student organizations must comply with California state law and CSU policies, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or disability. Stanislaus Christian Fellowship’s constitution, as currently written, permits discrimination on religious and other grounds for both its voting members and those filling leadership positions. The University is not saying the organization engages in discrimination, but the constitution as currently written would allow it, and that would violate Executive Order 1068 and California state law.”

Republican Shannon Grove proposed a bill titled Student Freedom of Association Act soon after to fight against the existing Open Membership Policy that requires membership and leadership posts within student organizations to be open to all students irrespective of whether or not they believe in the core values of the groups in question. This is the same policy that cost Stanislaus Christian Fellowship its recognition.

When asked what would happen if the bill was to be implemented, Lynch said, “It would be premature to speculate on any proposed legislation.”

As of now, Stanislaus Christian Fellowship will still be allowed to operate within the campus despite having lost its recognition as a formal student organization at the university.

“Non-recognized student organizations are welcome to meet on campus and engage in student life,” Lynch said. “What they cannot do is avail themselves of the privileges that recognized student organizations do.”

Organizations that have been recognized by the university have different kinds of privileges compared to the organizations that have not been recognized.

“Recognized student organizations have several privileges on campus, such as the ability to reserve space for activities, use a mailbox in the Office of Student leadership and Development, and gain access to certain accounting services,” Lynch said. “Such privileges are underwritten by student fees and California taxpayers; therefore, all recognized student organizations must refrain from discriminatory practices. More than 50 student organizations, including two that are faith-based, are recognized.”

Lynch also explained that the university is not trying to interfere with Chi Alpha’s process of selecting members or leaders but at the same time, the educational institution cannot possibly condone discrimination among students on religious grounds.

“Every student organization is free to craft its own policies for the selection of leaders, as long as those policies are non-discriminatory and applied equally,” Lynch said.

Lynch concluded that the university is not attempting to deny Chi Alpha its freedom of religious rights either.

“The university would never discriminate against any group because it is religious in nature,” Lynch said. “However, the University must comply with CSU policy and state law, which prohibit discrimination in recognized student organizations.”

Photo Credits: Google User Content

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