The Current Situation:
In the Fall of 2011, the Coalition Against Religious Exclusion (CARE) was formed to highlight and put an end to Tufts Christian Fellowship’s (TCF’s) continued discriminatory practices. CARE believed that the clause in TCF’s constitution which states that all its leaders must adhere to TCF’s “Basis of Faith” and its clause specifying the “Characteristics of a Leader” were a violation of the University’s nondiscrimination policy. These clause discriminate against other evangelical (and non-evangelical) Christians whose views differ even slightly from the Basis of Faith as interpreted by the leadership of TCF. It is important to note that TCF is currently the only evangelical group on campus and under current University policy only one Student Religious Group (SRG) may be recognized per religious denomination. These clauses further discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation through a requirement of sexual chastity. While heterosexual students are allowed to be classified as sexually chaste as long as they do not engage in premarital sex, non-heterosexual students are barred from even having a same-sex relationship if they wish to be classified as sexually chaste.
In October of 2012, the TCUJ derecognized TCF after TCF refused to remove the part of their constitution, which the TCUJ had previously ruled was in violation of the University nondiscrimination policy. TCF appealed, and in December of 2012, the Committee on Student Life (CSL) created a new policy by which student religious groups can apply to the Chaplaincy for an exemption, or “justified departure,” from the non-discrimination policy based on religious doctrine.
For over a year CARE worked to get the CSL ruling overturned, as it institutionalized discrimination on campus. Under the policy, groups that barred certain students from leadership were still able to receive money from the student activity fee (which every student pays). The policy falsely assumed that religions are monolithic and gave the Chaplaincy the dangerous power to define groups’ religious doctrines.
In December 2013, the CSL, thanks to a push by CARE, the TCU Senate, the Chaplaincy and the EEOC, voted to amend their policy on student religious groups (now renamed Religious and Philosophical Student Organizations) and rescind the ability of RPSOs to apply for justified departures. In February 2014, this decision was publicized to the entire Tufts community, reestablishing that all student organizations, religious and secular, must abide by the University’s non-discrimination Policy.