Vanderbilt Defends Non-Discrimination Policy - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vanderbilt Defends Non-Discrimination Policy

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Officials at Vanderbilt University have said their non-discrimination policy does not, in itself, discriminate against some of its student groups.

On Tuesday an impromptu sing-along broke out outside Furman Hall, where university leaders gathered students and staff to discuss the non-discrimination policy.

That policy has unexpectedly become a source of controversy for the University. The policy states that student groups must accept any Vanderbilt students who were interested in joining, however a handful of religious groups refuse to comply with the policy, saying they shouldn't be required to allow someone membership who doesn't share their faith.

"We believe very strongly that when we admit a student to this University and they register and they are a student in good standing, that discrimination in fact would be if we say ‘OK, but there are certain groups you can't be a member of," said David Williams, Vice Chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

"There is a way to couch this that makes this look like we are singling out religious groups, but in fact we are saying is that a student who has a sincere interest should be allowed to be a member," said Richard McCarty, Vice Chancellor.

The non-discrimination policy was implemented after a religious student organization kicked out a gay student. The controversy went national when the Congressional Prayer Caucus, including U.S. Representative Diane Black, sent a letter to the university urging them to exempt religious groups.

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