In most of my articles about the campus diversity movement, I try to use humor to deal with ridiculous situations, which are often created by ridiculous people following ridiculous policies. However, a recent situation involving the UNC-Wilmington College Republicans (CRs) is no laughing matter.
The controversy began when the CRs were asked to incorporate two non-discrimination clauses into their student group constitution. One requires that organizations not discriminate on the basis of “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, or sexual orientation.” The other says that organizations must adhere to “all University rules, regulations, and policies, as well as to all local, state, and federal laws.” According to the “Constitutional Guidelines” for all student organizations, both clauses “must appear in all constitutions and by-laws (Emphasis theirs).” In other words, all student groups must follow them in their entirety.
Take a moment to imagine the problems that could result from making the first of those two clauses binding on all student groups. The Sigma Chi fraternity would have to admit women, the Chi Omega sorority would have to admit men, the Muslim Student Association would have to admit Jews, and the Jewish Student Association would have to admit Muslims. And there certainly could be no group espousing the importance of traditional family structure unless gays and transvestites were allowed to join.
But things get even more ridiculous when the other clause is also made binding on student groups. By making groups adhere to “all University rules, regulations, and policies” factors such as “political affiliation” enter into the mix. Because the graduate catalogue includes political affiliation and because the CRs have members who attend graduate school, they realized that the second clause posed a serious threat to the well being of their group. Put simply, they did not want to open up their group to Democrats, Greens, and Nazis (please pardon the redundancy).
So the CRs did the only reasonable thing under the circumstances. They told the university that they would not incorporate the clauses. Of course, the result was predictable.
In a letter to the CRs, the Assistant to Student Organizations in the Campus Activities and Involvement Center, Faydra Stratton wrote the following: