InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), a campus ministry organization that is nearing its 75th anniversary, has officially been “derecognized” by California State University’s 23 schools for requiring its leaders to affirm core Christian beliefs.
Christianity Today reports that CSU issued a non-discrimination policy that requires campus organizations to allow all students access to leadership positions in campus clubs. IVCFs requirement for its student leaders to affirm Christian doctrines was therefore considered discriminatory for non-Christians.
CSU removed IVCF’s club status, which means that the group must pay the college for meeting space, which could amount to $20,000 a year. The ministry would not be allowed access to campus organization fairs, which is how the group previously recruited most of its members.
Greg Jao, IVCF national field director said that the ministry is using this obstacle as “an opportunity to reinvent campus ministry.
In a press release, Jao wrote, “InterVarsity is introducing creative new ways to connect with students and share the gospel message, though doing so as an 'unrecognized' student group will prove considerably more costly. Because we are no longer allowed to participate in campus organization fairs, InterVarsity will make contact with students by deploying new tools such as mobile banner stands, interactive displays, social media, and other techniques that don’t rely on established campus structures.”
IVCF president Alec Hill said that the recent events are cause for worry. "This could be the tipping point of other university systems moving in this direction, so that's why we are concerned.”
Publication date: September 10, 2014