TURLOCK, Calif. — A Christian campus organization that lost recognition from a California university after being accused of “religious discrimination” for not allowing non-Christians to hold leadership positions has regained its rights to meet on campus.
As previously reported, in September of last year, Chi Alpha’s chapter at California State University-Stanislaus was informed by the university that the group would no longer be recognized as a campus organization. The school accused the organization of religious discrimination and abruptly severed ties with the Christian group.
In a letter mailed in March to Cal State Stanislaus, Chi Alpha’s National Director, E. Scott Martin, explained that the Christian group was effectively “exiled from campus.”
“Within twenty-four hours, university personnel locked Chi Alpha students out of their reserved meeting space and forced them to hold their meetings off campus—in effect our Chi Alpha chapter was exiled from campus,” Martin wrote. “The harm from these incidents is ongoing, as it continues to affect Chi Alpha’s student members to this day.”
Chi Alpha was allegedly kicked off the Cal State Stanislaus campus because, although any student can become a member of the group, its leaders must affirm the organization’s Christian beliefs. University officials claim that this requirement violates the school’s non-discrimination policy.
“No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society, or other student organization that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability,” states the university’s official policy.
While university officials have stood by the policy over the past year, they have now agreed to allow Chi Alpha to once again meet on campus and select leaders that will best fit the organization.
“Today, we are grateful to announce that Chi Alpha is back on campus at Stanislaus and across the CSU system,” Martin wrote in an update this week on the campus ministry website. “Unfortunately, CSU continues to ban religious leadership requirements and to treat religious student groups with less respect than fraternities and sororities. But because CSU has agreed that Chi Alpha’s students may exercise their own judgment to choose leaders that share their beliefs, we are now able to have access to campus with integrity.”
The group still hopes that changes will be made to the policy, but is thankful for positive development.
“So, although we continue to pray and work towards removing the unfair burdens on Chi Alpha, we rejoice that Chi Alpha can resume sharing the liberating news of Jesus Christ to thousands of students across the CSU system,” Martin said. “We are thankful to CSU chancellor’s office for working with us in this challenging season and we hope for a stronger resolution in the future.”