Since Executive Order 1068 went into effect at the beginning of this academic year, a number of religious clubs have been derecognized on campuses across California. Former California State University Chancellor Charles Reed put this order in place.
Sonoma State University’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship members believe Executive Order 1068 could use some restructuring. Since the order’s inception, it has made it challenging for students participating in InterVarsity to come together and meet on campus.
Executive Order 1068 is an addition to Executive Order 969 from 2006.
Making the university’s discrimination policies include all clubs. Executive Order 969 states: 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.
An exemption was made for fraternities and sororities to discriminate on their membership based on gender in Title V of the California Code of Regulations.
This anti-discrimination policy decides who can run for officer positions in California State University student clubs and organizations.
“It is not fair. We are students, we should have access to buildings and classrooms for free and they are taking away our opportunity to participate on campus,” said InterVarsity Vision Team Leader Jenna Lehman. “A lot of students only participate in InterVarsity, and no other clubs or organizations on campus.”
InterVarsity has asked for an exemption to the order like fraternities and sororities were granted.
The nature of fraternities and sororities is discriminative based on an individual’s gender.
The National InterVarsity Organization reached out to CSU Chancellor Timothy White to set up a meeting, but has yet to hear back according to InterVarsity Area Director Jenny Klouse.
“It is a good idea in theory. We don’t want people to be discriminated against,” said Klouse. “The club does not have dues, insuring anyone who wants to be a member and participate can. [We] disagree with the no discrimination in the leadership.”
InterVarsity officers and members don’t want to amend their constitution to allow people not of Christian faith to hold leadership positions.
They hope to honor the organization’s founding of sharing and educating others in the Christian faith, by upholding the original constitution.
There are no plans to change the constitution in order to charter and once again be recognized as a Sonoma State University club.
“Even though we are derecognized as a club, we are still here to help students discover their faith, and what they would like it to be,” said Klouse. “Twenty percent of students involved in InterVarsity would not call themselves Christian.”
The purpose of InterVarsity is Christian Fellowship, to establish and advance at colleges and universities witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and God.
“I am trying to make sure no student that wants to rent a space on this campus will have to pay to reserve that space,” said Associated Students President Anthony Gallino during an exclusive interview with the STAR.
Since being derecognized as a club, InterVarsity members have rented the Cooperage in order to host their large group meetings.
Large groups are held every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. A large group is where all members come together to worship and host a speaker.
Students can walk in and use a room for free, but cannot reserve one. There is no guarantee that the group is able to use the room every week.
Because of the amount of students who attend the large event is 100 or more on any night, it’s necessary that the space be reserved. The next steps include finding a location to meet for large groups off campus, yet close to campus. To rent the Cooperage, it’s $1,000 per night, nearly $15,000 per semester.
The InterVarsity National Organization is paying the fees for this semester, but the Sonoma State InterVarsity will have to take over the charge of renting a space after.
There are 16 small groups, or otherwise known as bible studies, held across campus throughout the week. Anyone is welcomed to attend.
Each small group has different members that attend, and are on all different times and days of the week.
If interested in participating email Jessica Zastrow at firstname.lastname@example.org to find the one most convenient for you.
Leaders of InterVarsity are trying to insure that nothing gets in the way of holding events that allow students to come together to share their faith or make new friends while exploring Christianity.
For further information regarding Sonoma State University’s chapter of InterVarsity or the national organization, individuals are encouraged to visit the organization’s Facebook page or intervarsity.org.