Please pray for the students at Vanderbilt to have the recognized and affirmed opportunity to organize peacefully on campus according to the dictates of their beliefs.
I am a Vandy alum, B.A. Religious Studies 1975. I would like any updates or information about the new policy that is a cause of great concern to many of us.
While I uphold the value of equal opportunity for all, I also uphold the value of freedom for groups to organize according to the principles of their conscience. Vandy is a liberal arts institution that makes the claim that freedom of expression is paramount. Yet, this policy limits the freedom of applying organizational values that will insure the ongoing unique integrity of the groups. This new policy is an attempt to promote a so-called tolerance by being clearly intolerant to the values and convictions of others. The so-called anti-discrimination policy discriminates against the people who do not agree with the administration’s positions and values. So much for the free exchange of ideas.
This policy does not enhance my pride in our university. Instead, it causes great concerns.
I lead an organization that just encouraged a student to attend Vandy. The parents of this freshman at Vandy are now concerned about his choice of university. They are voicing their concerns to other parents who may choose to encourage their children to not consider Vandy. Surely, that would be a bad outcome for Vanderbilt University over the long term.
This policy will have a negative impact on the university's reputation in the eyes of a very large segment of our population in the USA. The "all comer's" policy seems to mean that traditional, conservative values are not welcome at Vanderbilt.
Please send me updates or further information as this issue continues to unfold.
As a former baseball player, I am looking forward to an upcoming reunion of our early 70’s teams on the weekend of April 14-15. Any meetings for conversation and updates that could be set up for me and some other baseball alumni that will attend (and who share my views) would be much appreciated.
Rick Duncan, B.A. Religious Studies, 1975
Thanks for your email and your interest in your university and its non-discrimination policy. Vanderbilt believes strongly in the concept of non-discrimination as well as providing our students a free opportunity to join any organization on our campus. We also value ones right to freely express and practice their religion. As a private university, Vanderbilt has a right to determine the organizations that will be on their campus and require those organizations to be free on discrimination. We are doing nothing more than [that] with our policy. Because of the complex nature of these issues and the clear misunderstanding around these issues, we conveyed a town hall meeting last Tuesday and plan to continue the discussions with members of the University community. Thank you for your interest.
Thanks, David, for your prompt reply to my concerns.
I am still concerned. In fact, after viewing portions of the 3 hour town hall meeting, I am even more concerned.
I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area now. And as an alum, I have had many emails and conversations in the last few days with parents of students and other Vandy grads who are deeply concerned about the direction of the administration.
I trust that the seemingly short-sighted effort toward implementing what seems to me to be a left-leaning, politically correct ideology is not going to alienate many current supporters and proud graduates.
After viewing the town hall discussion, it is deeply distressing to me to hear that this is being cast as a civil rights issue similar to the civil rights issues of the 1960s. That is a very, very manipulative way to try to take the high moral ground and to shut down reasoned conversation with people who might think differently. That is not what a liberal arts education is supposed to produce.
Is there someone in the Vanderbilt administration with a dissenting voice? Is there someone in the administration who has felt the freedom to say publicly that policies restricting religious groups is, in fact, a form of discrimination? Who in the administration is representing the views of the leaders of the religious organizations?
I would love to have a conversation with someone in the administration who is sympathetic to the voices of those who oppose the policy. Or has the pervasive ideology of Vanderbilt become so left-of-center that there is no room for or respect for dissenting voices.
Vandy is an institution that provides for a liberal arts education. As you know, this is a disciplined area of study that is considered essential for a person to master in order to maintain and advance the cause of freedom. Please allow for the free expression of ideas, including those ideas that PC ideologues may not like to entertain.
Rick Duncan, B. A. Religious Studies, 1975
Vanderbilt's anti-discrimination policy