New student group guidelines
Published: Friday, October 1, 2004
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
Ohio State has revised student organization guidelines to allow religious group's constitutions that could deny certain students formal membership.
The revision specifies that student religious organization which sincerely believe open membership would oppose their beliefs can deny formal members.
"It (was) one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make," said William Hall, vice president of student affairs in a statement released by the university.
Cherish Cronmiller, co-chair of Outlaws - a law student organization that deals with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community - said she is disappointed in the university's decision, saying they picked an inappropriate time to release the information with National Coming Out Day happening on Oct. 11 and law students enjoying fall break next week.
"For me this is very, very shady to release this information before break," Cronmiller said
The guideline review came about after Outlaws filed a complaint with the university against the Christian Legal Society in Nov. 2003. This led to CLS filling a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of the OSU's nondiscrimination policy.
OSU requires student organizations to include in their constitution a statement of nondiscrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.
A review by OSU showed the group had violated the nondiscrimination policy by having formal members of the organization sign a statement of faith indicating they had Christian beliefs in order to hold office within the organization.
At the time, CLS had amended it's constitution stating that officers must refrain from sinful acts including fornication, adultery and homosexual conduct.
The decision to revise the guidelines came through the universities own nondiscrimination policy. OSU believed it would be discriminating against students who had the right to freedom of association under the First Amendment, Hall said.
During a review of the guidelines it was argued the university's policy infringed on religious expression and free association. In particular, the gender identity and sexual orientation clauses of the nondiscrimination policy were said to clash with some groups' religious beliefs.
"I believe a majority of student would have liked to see the university step up and be a leader among the nation's public institutions and state that there should be separation between church and state, and as such we will not alter our nondiscrimination policy," Cronmiller said.
For more information about student affairs, visit studentaffairs.osu.edu/.