California State University East Bay

Courtesy | InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

InterVarsity derecognized on campus

January 22, 2015

This past fall, the California State University system chose to ban InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, a national religious organization, when it found the campus religious group would be in violation of a system-wide non-discrimination policy.

Former Chancellor Charles Reed first introduced Executive Order 1068 in December 2011, the purpose of the new non-discrimination policy was to regulate student organizations in order for all students to have access to lead and have membership in various clubs.

“No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society, or other student organization that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability,” this is from the order.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, also known as IVCF is located on more than 600 college campuses. It has various subgroups such as Black Campus Ministries, La Fae, and Asian American Ministries. IVCF provides small group bible studies and holds large group events such as capture the flag and dodgeball.

“InterVarsity empowers and builds a community of a safe haven filled with love, acceptance and freedom to follow the Christian faith,” said student leader Miya Evans.

Intervarsity 3 - InterVarsity Christian Fellowshi

I for one do believe all clubs should be open for any and everyone, but religious organizations should be allowed to have some type of criteria for a leader. To myself it’s like a wolf to lead sheep to their promise land.

The new CSU chancellor Timothy White had given all religious groups an exemption period on being derecognized for the 2013-2014 school year, so that they can see how it feels to be a recognized student organization. IVCF faced de-recognition at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, because they require all of their leaders to believe and follow the InterVarsity’s doctrinal basis, which is a set of core values and beliefs written by their board of trustees.

“Part of the benefits of being recognized is that we are able to table at school sponsored fairs, reserve rooms in the student unions without cost, and to receive scholarship money from the ASI department,” said InterVarsity staff Silvia Kim.

The Executive Order 1068 differs from other non-discrimination policies, due to the fact that it’s not just limited to whom you allow into the club, but also no discrimination towards leadership positions as well. This means that you cannot exclude anyone based upon gender, race or religion.

Evans said, “for me it doesn’t quite make sense, how can I as a non-Christian lead a Christian group, it’s like a science teacher teaching cosmetology.”
All student organizations, especially religious orgs, were given a designated period to turn in their constitution or any other documentation in order to be reviewed. In order to see if there is anything that may go against the new non-discrimination policy.

Although the CSU system doesn’t recognize IVCF, they are still on campus and finding ways to continue reaching out to students and faculty members.

“Since we are derecognizing on campus and no longer able to get funding or room reservations, we use other outlets such as holding events outside and off campus locations. It hasn’t affected our ministry being kicked out of campus because we continue to grow and just following the path God is leading us,” said Evans.

I for one have been impacted through InterVarsity’s ministries throughout the past two years. From seeing IVCF around campus, I see they continue to show love and compassion, even though they have been derecognized.

In the matter of this situation, I applaud the national staff that made the decision to stand by their doctrinal basis. In the society from my opinion, people seem as if they don’t stand for what they believe when it comes to morals and values. Individuals will sell themselves short just to fit in and be liked. I see intervarsity taking the initiative of not selling out and showing people how to overcome obstacles that may come your way.

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