Student Organization In Disagreement With OU's Anti-Discrimination Policy

Monday, September 12th 2011, 9:31 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown, News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A policy at University of Oklahoma could be stirring up more controversy than it was intended to. This one involves religious groups.

There are dozens of student organizations here on the OU campus, and some of them are religious or faith-based. You might think getting them all to sign on to an anti-discrimination policy would be a no-brainer. But News 9 found out it's just not quite that simple.

The university's student association recently sent out a letter to all registered student organizations regarding the anti-discrimination policy. That sounds simple enough, but not quite, according to Joshua Hollman, president of OU Christian Legal Society.

"It's intended to increase protection from discrimination, it actually creates discrimination," Hollman said.

The policy states clearly that any membership any membership criteria based solely on religious factors is not in compliance with "prevailing university community standard."

There's talk that the policy is in response to a recent Supreme Court decision regarding a California case. In that case, the CLS Chapter was denied university status because they required members to prescribe to a statement of beliefs. That didn't sit well with other different-thinking organizations on campus.

"The affiliation and goals of the group are inherently tied to those beliefs. And to say that you can't make decisions based on those beliefs, it just says you can't act like human being," Hollman said. "When public policy is worded in such a way it makes the person face this question, am I discriminating or am I being moral? do I have a choice between the two? I think that's where public policy comes into contradiction with the religious freedom that a person has."

Supreme Court decisions have a way of working their way around the country regardless of where they begin, one just may have landed itself right here in the sooner nation.