University policy unacceptable

By giving religious organizations the right to exclude students from their groups, the University has failed students in several ways. It has bridged the separation between university and religion, failed to protect the rights of its fee-paying students and set a new precedent for discrimination on our campus.

The new policy giving religious groups the right to vote people out is completely absurd. In my three years at this university I have been left with the impression that our school is secular and does not favor religious organizations over other groups. This was only logical given the public nature of our school and the diverse beliefs that come along with a large student body.

Given that the University is a state school and is not affiliated with any particular religion, its actions should be secular and reflect the separation of church and state. This is obviously no longer the case, given that religious groups have more authority than, for example, the Ski and Snowboard Club. From a secular perspective there is no distinction between a religious group and other student organizations.

If the Maranatha Christian Fellowship has the right to vote a “bad Christian” out of its group, can the ski club remove people who are not very good at skiing? This comparison is of course ridiculous to anyone who is religious, but it simply demonstrates that the University should treat all groups as equals.

Another conflict in this new policy is taxation without representation. All students pay hundreds of dollars in Student Services Fees and should be entitled to participate in any group they want. If this policy of discrimination toward students is to continue, we should be given a choice to fund the groups that we can actually join.

It is no secret to students who paid some attention to the student groups on campus that many of them are hardly diverse. Asian groups are full of Asians, Entrepreneurship Club is mostly Carlson School of Management students, etc. There is no need for an extra layer of bureaucracy, which will make our “diverse” campus even more segregated. On the other hand, the University should be encouraging policies that will open people up to different cultures and persuade students to open their eyes to our colorful world. After all, according to the current growth in population, Hispanics will be a majority in 30 to 40 years.

In their Sept. 9 opinion, “Policies change for religious students,” Maranatha officers urged students to “stand up for what they believe in.” I agree with this call to action and personally place the blame on the University’s cowardice in fighting Maranatha, degrading the image of our school as a leader in progressive social norms, instead taking a step back into the dark ages of exclusion and segregation.

As for the student group itself, I am surprised to see that the forces of extremist Christians have been able to reach people from so many different cultures. However, I fail to see the love, acceptance and tolerance they proclaim in their column, and instead are made more aware of their narrow, extreme views. After all, they apparently hate certain people so much that they would rather fight the University in court than bare their presence in their student group.

Vladimir Makarov is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]