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Monday, February 6, 2012

When discrimination policies become self-refuting

SUNY apparently fails to see the logical inanity in requiring groups to revise its leadership requirements in the name of nondiscrimination:
The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter at the State University of New York at Buffalo has three weeks to come into compliance with the school's nondiscrimination policy or risk losing its status as an official campus group. 
A committee formed to investigate allegations of discrimination announced Sunday that InterVarsity's constitution, which includes a clause requiring leaders to agree with a statement of faith, violates school policy. 

dis·crim·i·nate (

verb (used without object)
to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality: The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.
to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately: to discriminate between things.

The purpose of many groups is to meet around a central thesis or movement on which they all agree. But even if you do not agree, you may certainly be a member (as IV Christian Fellowship allows). But why in the world should groups with a specific intent and worldview be required to allow for leaders who intentionally do not agree with everything that the group stands for? This sort of nondiscrimination policy is NECESSARILY discriminatory when applied and is the very antithesis of diversity in thought. 

Look at it this way. If I decide I want to form an official campus group I must conform to a standard of belief on pain of disqualification. A collection of individuals that group and conclude that by virtue of what they stand for they want all their leaders to at least believe in what it is they are appointed to represent, will be discriminated against per SUNY's nondiscriminatory policy. In essence, the policy shows partiality to groups that agree with SUNY and subsequently is guilty of the very thing it seeks to mitigate.