In the fall of 2011 a group of Tufts students came together in opposition to the discriminatory policies of the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF), a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Among the policies these students opposed was the Fellowship’s constitutional requirement that leaders adhere to a Basis of Faith and affirm the Characteristics of a Leader which, among other things, effectively discriminated against LGBTQ students and students whose religious views were not identical to those of TCF’s Vision and Planning Team (i.e. their executive board). This is in direct violation of the University’s non-discrimination policy. The group of students filed an official complaint with the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ), and TCF was eventually derecognized during the Judiciary’s re-recognition process. Over time, the group expanded and took on the name CARE, Coalition Against Religious Exclusion.
Although CARE was initially formed in response to the discriminatory policies of a specific religious group, we are dedicated to opposing all forms of discrimination among any TCU-recognized religious group. CARE therefore opposes the Committee on Student Life’s recent “religious exemption” policy that would allow any religious group on campus to apply for a “justified departure” from the non-discrimination policy. If granted, the group would be able to discriminate in the criteria for its leadership positions and still be able to be recognized as a Tufts student organization and receive all the associated benefits, including receiving money from the student activity fee, which all students pay. CARE opposes this decision to institutionalize discrimination at Tufts and rejects the idea that one can ever justify discrimination; ultimately, “justified discrimination” is discrimination.
Ultimately, we want to live on a campus where students can gather into moral communities that evolve organically according to the community’s needs–not artificial boxes where students are blinded from the hateful practices of their elites, where their spirituality is imposed upon and defined for them. We want a campus where the community molds its institutions, not the converse.