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Asian InterVarsity allowed back on campus

By Sam Gringlas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 4, 2013

The Asian InterVarsity Fellowship gained University recognition as an official campus organization Monday afternoon, a decision that came on the heels of allegations last week that the club was kicked off campus over University non-discrimination policy violations.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the club failed to meet the Sept. 30 annual re-registration deadline but completed the process Monday without having to change their constitution, which outlines religious criteria for selecting the group’s leaders. Such criteria are in violation of the University’s policy.

Cunningham said the University discussed the missed deadline with Asian InterVarsity in December. After a re-registration meeting scheduled for last week was postponed because of scheduling conflicts, stakeholders convened Monday to discuss reinstatement.

The re-registration process included discussion of the chapter’s constitution, which requires elected leaders to recite a statement of faith, a clause that contradicts University non-discrimination protocols.

“Part of the process is to bring up anything that might be of interest and to have a dialogue about that,” Cunningham said.

Sara Chang, a local InterVarsity recruiter, attended the meeting that included campus ministers, staff from the University’s Center for Campus Involvement, InterVarsity representatives and student leaders.

According to Chang’s recollection of the meeting, the University clarified their concerns about aspects of the constitution and asked the club to consider revisions.

When club representatives said they would not change their constitution, the University offered an alternative: Asian InterVarsity could continue to operate under their current policies but would not be protected under the University’s non-discrimination policy. As a result, the University would not be responsible for grievances filed against the club on the basis of the University’s non-discrimination policy.

At the end of the meeting, Chang said University and club representatives verbally “agreed to disagree” and parted without receiving club recognition. She said the club did not want represent exception to the University's rules.

The parties agreed to continue dialogue about revisions to the University’s non-discrimination policy, which Chang said she hopes would provide leniency to religious groups seeking to select religious leaders.

But by Monday afternoon, the club received an e-mail confirmation stating their registration was complete and had been officially recognized as a University organization.

“That’s not something we had given verbal consent to,” Chang said.

As of Monday night, Chang said she is unsure of the conditions surrounding the approval, including whether the club will be protected under University non-discrimination policy.

“That’s a question that I’m very interested in pursuing with the University.”