Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Vanderbilt University: Imposing a Policy to Which it Would Not Submit

This piece was authored by Jeffrey Shafer of the Alliance Defense Fund
February 8, 2012

Vanderbilt University had a mission that night: to set forth and defend its new institutional outlook and policy. How did the university carry out that objective? Did it leave the decision as to who would speak on its behalf to a referendum vote of its employees? Did it seek out those with strong leadership skills—regardless of their position on the policy in dispute? Did it embrace an “all-comers” policy and authorize anyone who wished to speak on its behalf? Of course not.

Vanderbilt discriminated in assigning those who would represent it at the meeting. The point of the gathering was for the university to persuasively make its case. Its discriminatory selection of speakers was essential to accomplishing that goal. When it comes to its own interests, Vanderbilt carefully adheres to a course that ensures that its mission and purposes are served rather than compromised. At the town hall meeting, its spokesmen carried out their duties in rare form, even offering autobiographical revelations to lend pathos to their assertions, as they demonstrated—often with emotion—their personal embrace of the university’s policy position.

But this is precisely what the university now forbids to religious groups. And this irony was evidently lost on the administration’s “true believers” tasked with defending the university’s creed at the town hall meeting. These officials kept straight faces while explaining to religious groups that they should be pleased to open their leadership to those who don’t believe the faith the groups were formed to propagate. the rest
 image by Dave Connor


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