CARE is excited to announce our first public educational event, “Justifiable Discrimination” at Tufts: A Teach-In. The event will be taking place today (Tuesday the 19th) at 7:00 in ASEAN Auditorium (in Cabot). Check out the facbeook event here or read the description below for more details.
|Did you know a Tufts student was kicked off a student religious groups’ executive board in 2000 because of her sexual orientation and the administration only strengthened the university’s nondiscrimination policy after students took action? Did you know that this year, over a decade later, the administration has again weakened the nondiscrimination policy to allow religious groups to discriminate? History has already shown that the Tufts administration is willing to condone discrimination on campus–that is, unless students actively protest, as they did a decade ago.So come learn more about “justified discrimination” at Tufts, the Committee on Student Life’s recent decision, and how you can get involved in helping to overturn a policy that institutionalizes discrimination in student-funded groups on our campus.
Educate yourself. Speak up. Take action.
In response to disconcerting quotes from Rev. Kepler in a recent Daily article concerning the CSL Policy, three CARE members have written an op-ed discussing why they oppose the CSL Decision. Read a selection from the op-ed below and then click here for the full version.
“The nondiscrimination policy of Tufts is rooted in the wisdom of providing an environment that creates a space built on social equity in the hopes that all will be treated as equal under the eyes of the university. The CSL decision allows this aspect of the nondiscrimination policy to be eroded and replaced with a thin veil of forced separation between people who disagree on what are arguably minor differences in religious practice of belief within an umbrella religious community. In allowing for both legitimized discrimination — through the justification of separation — and a redefinition of what a nondiscrimination policy means, the CSL decision is a hugely negative representation of the values and principles of Tufts. Rev. Kepler’s willingness to allow intra-group discrimination without even a modicum of transparency or questioning adds further salt to the wound. Additionally, the direct contradiction of the CSL policy by the Chaplaincy seems to overlook and trivialize the danger and damage of discrimination on individual, institutional and social levels.”
Today, The Tufts Daily published a features article and an editorial about CARE. Although they may have gotten our name wrong in the headline (since fixed on the website), we greatly appreciate the Daily covering our fight for a more inclusive and welcoming University. You can read the features article about CARE, entitled “Coalition Against Religious Exclusion encourages diversity, pluralism,” by clicking here. You can read the Daily Editorial “When TCF debate ends, CARE still has a place” by clicking here.
Earlier Today, the TCU Senate passed two resolutions in opposition to the CSL Decision. The first resolution, S.13-1 A Resolution to Affirm the Conflict in Policy Surrounding the CSL Decision, was passed by the Senate by a 20-1-0 vote. This resolution, among other things, resolved that the change in the TCU constitution (as a result of the CSL decision) “stands in direct conflict with University’s Mission statement” and that “the TCU Government cannot feasibly uphold the CSL decision granting a ‘justifiable departure from the Tufts nondiscrimination policy’ in that this policy creates an irresolvable rift in the spirit of the TCU Constitution.” This resolution can be read here.
The second resolution, S. 13-2 A Resolution Denouncing the Committee on Student Life’s Changes to University Policy, was passed by the TCU Senate by a vote of 20-1-1. Unlike the previous resolution, which was more objective, this resolution explicitly “denounces the CSL’s newly enacted policy change” and “calls upon all relevant and empowered University Stakeholders…to promptly overturn the new CSL policy.” This resolution can be read here.
To all CARE allies on the Tufts campus –
The TCU Senate will be meeting tonight at 7pm in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room. The meeting is open and any Tufts student can attend. Part of the meeting today will be a discussion on the CSL ruling and reactions to it. Go and make your voice heard during the public feedback section of the meeting!
UPDATE: A resolution was introduced earlier tonight, which condemned the CSL’s decision, and called upon the TCU Treasury to amend the Treasury Procedures Manual to forbid the Treasury from allocating funds from the Student Activity Fee to any group which was granted a ‘justifiable departure’ from the nondiscrimination policy. Upon the resolution’s introduction, the TCU Judiciary immediately declared the resolution unconstitutional, explaining that the CSL’s decision was now part of the TCU Senate’s constitution, and a vote on the resolution would have constituted a violation of the constitution. Consequently, any Senator who voted on the bill would be subject to disciplinary measures and possible impeachment. After an amendment to remove the unconstitutional portion of the resolution failed to gain enough votes, TCU President Wyatt Cadley moved to table the resolution. An attempt to overturn that decision was unsuccessful and the resolution ultimately never came up for a vote. Cadley promised that he would bring forward a resolution condemning the CSL Policy at the first Senate meeting of the spring semester. For a more detailed account of the Senate meeting, click here.
Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog has a piece up today discussing the TCF controversy and CSL’s recent religious exemption ruling. Mehta summarizes the recent history of the case succinctly, and makes a lucid point about why having a blanket non-discrimination policy is important:
It seems like a silly rule. Of course you should have to be a Christian to lead a Christian group, right? Well… it’s not that simple. Should a white student be allowed to lead a black student group? Can a straight person run an LGBT group? Where do you draw the line? What if a Christian student who strongly supported church/state separation and LGBT rights wanted to lead an atheist group? Should they be rejected outright because of their religious beliefs if they genuinely want the best for the group?
The CSL’s ruling stands directly against the spirit of the non-discrimination policy. As Mehta so eloquently puts it, “Yet again, the rules have been twisted to accommodate religious bigotry.”