Universities may be well-intentioned when they create non-discrimination policies, but to the chagrin of some free speech advocates and religious conservatives, the restrictions that often result are problematic. TheBlaze has already extensively covered this issue as it has played out on the Vanderbilt University campus. Now, a similar drama is unfolding at Yale University, where a new Christian fraternity may be denied recognition -- and funding -- over its requirement that male members believe in Jesus Christ.
World on Campus has more about the battle that Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX), a national fraternity with a new chapter at Yale, is facing: "Just days after the leaders of Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) announced the Yale chapter's formation, the student newspaper reported that the group 'will have to change its membership rules if it intends to comply with Yale's anti-discrimination policies.'"
According to the Yale Daily News, the campus' student-run newspaper, undergraduate groups must adhere to the university's "equal opportunity policies." This essentially means that, aside from accepting same-gender sports teams and select clubs, every organization is banned from discriminating based on sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. In the case of BYX, the religious clause presents a problem.
The university has been relatively tight-lipped about the issue, with both sides admitting that it is currently being discussed and debated. From the fraternity's point of view, though, faith is central to the organization's structure. As a result, there is only so much compromise that can be made before a line is crossed and certain values must be unfairly given up.
"Every fraternity has an ideal candidate that they're looking for in their pledges," BYX executive director Jason Hoyt told World on Campus. "Part of ours is that the candidate wants the same things that we want, and what we want is to develop our relationship with Christ."
Despite rules that require members to be Christians, BYX opens its social events to everyone -- a factor that may help the organization's cause. Fraternity leaders have said that they don't want controversy, as Victor Hicks, the student who founded the Yale chapter, did so in an effort to reach out to the campus community and to help inspire fellow students.
The pressures present on campus to drink and break one's own moral code are profound, so the fraternity is an opportunity for young people to escape those elements, leaders contend. So far -- there's no official word on how the situation will be handled or whether the group will be forced, like some other fraternities, to avoid official membership in order to maintain its central faith components.
"I want to make sure people know that we don't think we're better than anyone else," Hicks said of BYX. "We are just different people, each choosing to live different lifestyles."
(H/T: World on Campus)