Vandy Catholic -- a student group with some 500 members at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee -- decided this week that it will not agree with the school's new nondiscrimination policy, and will be leaving the campus after the current school year.
An organization dedicated to Catholic doctrine and teachings, Vandy Catholic is opposed to Vanderbilt's nondiscrimination policy, because it requires all organizations at the school to be open to all students, regardless of their religious or atheistic beliefs. It also requires organizations to allow all its members -- regardless of religion -- to seek and hold a leadership position.
Religious groups at Vanderbilt used to have an exemption from the university's nondiscrimination policy, but Vanderbilt has ended that exemption. Vanderbilt's new policy is believed to have been sparked by a Christian group expelling a gay member.
We believe that Vanderbilt has made the correct decision in allowing all students to be members of a college group, regardless of their religious or other preference. Indeed, it is this kind of freedom, acceptance, and diversion that helps to make a university a viable academic center with its freedom of expression and diverse ideas.
On the other hand, for a Catholic club to refuse membership -- or a leadership position -- of a non-Catholic student pervades an environment of arrogance, discrimination, and narrow-mindedness that is contrary to the purpose and empowerment of a great university.
Consequently, we believe that -- despite its disagreement with Vanderbilt's nondiscrimination policy -- it would behoove the Vandy Catholic group to remain on the Vanderbilt campus.