California

Cal State System Bans Campus Groups From Having 'Belief' Requirements

State bill targets university's 'believe it or not' edict.

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In Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist," a judge tells the henpecked Mr. Bumble the law assumes that his wife is under his control. "If the law supposes that," he replied, "the law is a(n) ass — a(n) idiot."Mr. Bumble's retort popularized the "law is an ass" phrase, which still is widely used whenever a law defies common sense.

It's hard to find a better example than a rule from the California State University system. Starting last summer, it requires "open membership" for on-campus student groups. Atheists must admit born-again Christians as members and leaders. Democrats must accept Republicans. At one point, honor societies had to accept D students, but even CSU cobbled together an exception for that one.

"Why can't a student LGBT club insist its leaders believe in same-sex marriage?" asked Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield. "Real tolerance allows differing groups to hold diverse points of view." Grove introduced a bill Friday allowing groups at public colleges and universities to have belief-based requirements for membership and leadership.

It's not just conservatives who see CSU's edict as political correctness run amok. After the university "derecognized" an evangelical group that would not amend its bylaws, Kevin Drum of lefty Mother Jones argued it was "pretty extreme" to force Christian groups to "allow nonbelievers to lead Bible studies and prayer services." Indeed.

Drum touched on an issue that jumped to mind, as I recall the silly things I did as a member of campus groups in the 1980s: "I can easily imagine a bunch of campus halfwits who think it would be the funniest joke in the world to join a religious group en masse and then elect an atheist as president."

Cal State's justification seems equally halfwitted. "The rationale was to remain compliant with California state law," explained a spokesperson in the chancellor's office. The Supreme Court upheld the "all-comers" policy and the law applies to all publicly funded colleges, and not just CSU, she said.

Despite the implication, California's law does not require this policy. A spokesman for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship told me his group hasn't faced the same issues at University of California or most California community colleges. Cal State is implying it has little choice but to force open campus groups to comply with California's anti-discrimination laws, but the court held only that CSU's all-comers policy is legal, not that it's required.

Although students who run for leadership roles "cannot be required to sign a Statement of Faith, nothing in CSU's policy prohibits members or others from asking the candidate about their faith or beliefs," according to the chancellor's office. Thank goodness for small wonders. Students in, say, the Jewish group are still allowed to talk about Judaism.

"It's born out of a well-intended desire to weed out discrimination," said Joseph Cohn, of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "You don't want the chess club telling students they can't be members of the chess club because of the color of their skin. But if a Buddhist campus group wants to exclude someone who is an advocate for fighting, that's not invidious discrimination because they can't continue to be the campus Buddhists if they can't decide for themselves that people should agree with their perspective."

Critics wonder whether these kinds of rules are so well intended. Some worry they are a backdoor attempt to deny conservative religious groups campus resources — or force them to change their views about homosexuality. CSU insists Christian groups are welcome on campus. They are, but only if they accept a policy that might conflict with their faith.

The university is promoting "diversity within groups rather than diversity of groups," argued Nate Honeycutt, a San Diego State University graduate student and spokesman for CSU Student Organizations for Free Association. Many members of campus groups don't know the rule or think it won't affect them, he added. Some groups have amended their bylaws but don't follow the rule in practice. Mostly, Latino kids don't have much interest joining the Polish-American Club and few Libertarians want to become president of the college Marxists.

But what does it say about a rule that works only to the degree that people ignore it? It says such a rule is an ass.

NEXT: Netanyahu Was Right to Bring Up the Holocaust

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  1. “Real tolerance allows differing groups to hold diverse points of view.”

    Um, no. Real tolerance means not tolerating intolerance, and diverse points of view are intolerant.

    1. Wow, Sarcasmic, Holy Bat-Wow! You are stressing the hell outta my sarcasmometer! “?diverse points of view are intolerant” my sarcasmometer reads 99.999% that this is sarcasm? However, “Real tolerance means not tolerating intolerance?” part of it has been one of my long-standing sincere beliefs that shows, M.-Scott-Peck-like (1980s shrink and author that I am fond of), that any viable philosophy is going to have to have a paradoxical component in order for the philosophy to truly work (be flexible). I really do believe “Real tolerance means not tolerating intolerance” if and when we are capable of doing a darned thing to stamp out intolerance? As gently as is possible. You do agree with that part, I am assuming? Sarcasm right next to very-possibly-valid sentiments confuses my sarcasmometer? Thanks!

      1. Why would you believe that intolerance needs to be stamped out? Why can’t people just be allowed to believe what they want to believe?

        1. Well, kinda a fine distinction there, but… They can believe all day, if they want, that white people with a missing front tooth should all be put to death… If they want to believe that, I guess I can leave them alone. But if they ACT on their beliefs (or conspire to act on their beliefs, with any actual violent actions), THEN I object, and I want defensive or protective force to be used against them.

          1. And that’s fine. There is a difference between intolerance and violence though. And we already have plenty of established ways to deal with violent people.

            1. And we also have a powerful way to deal with offensive words… Other words in return. Harsh words only, for harsh words (no violence)… But harsh words (social pressures alone) are more effective than many people give them credit for. If I am offended by the words of an intolerant asshole, I’d most likely go out of my way, to make sure that all of our mutual acquaintances KNOW perfectly well what an intolerant asshole so-and-so is? That his or her judgment and/or respect for others is MUCH in question. I appreciate it when others warn me about assholes, so I do that much for others?

              1. I agree, which means we’re being intolerant of people we find intolerant. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. I wish people were allowed to put “Niggers Not Allowed” signs on their establishments so I’d know where not to go. Unfortunately I’m stuck unknowingly supporting racist scumbags.

                1. I wish people were allowed to put “Niggers Not Allowed” signs on their establishments so I’d know where not to go.

                  I agree.

                  1. After all what’s most important is you being able to make informed choices about where you patronize. Since you have every option in society available to you, you need some way to pick a restaurant. In fact, blacks being told they can’t be served is almost a bonus! They especially benefit from knowing where the racists are.

                    1. Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy fucking walrus-looking piece of shit! Get the fuck off of my obstacle! Get the fuck down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT! Or I’m going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, IF IT SHORT-DICKS EVERY CANNIBAL ON THE CONGO!

                    2. If a black restaurant owner wanted to exclude white people, he would be free to do so as well.

                      “No Honkey-Ass Crackers Allowed!”

                    3. If a business owner wants to discriminate against someone, why should they be forced to serve that person?

                      Where in your magical fairy land do you have the right to tell someone what to do with their own property?

                    4. There is no undue force. You don’t get unlimited liberty when you open a business. You have to abide by laws. Laws are things that allow people to live harmoniously together in a society. If you have a restaurant, you can’t poison your customers. And you can’t discriminate against people because of their race. Such laws have a purpose. They validate the liberty that was being denied people in exchange for a small infringement on other people’s liberty that is not valuable to society.

                    5. There is no liberty or right to other people’s stuff. There is a right to be able to do business and sell your stuff to whom you choose.

                      You also have the right to not shop at or support a business owner who discriminates.

                      We are a society of individuals. Way to keep trying to take us back to 10,000 B.C. where we must all do what is good for the tribe and all that jazz. I believe however that we have moved on from that as I don’t need you Tony to help fend off the tigers or help run a mammoth off a cliff.

          2. What I was pointing out is that those who claim to be tolerant are some of the most intolerant people you’ll ever meet. If you disagree with them, then you’re an intolerant tea-bagger clinging to your guns and religion. There’s no middle ground. You agree or you’re labeled intolerant, and then shunned by the people who claim to be tolerant.

            So tolerance means not tolerating divergent opinions, inclusiveness means excluding those with divergent opinions, and equality means superiority over those with divergent opinions.

            Tolerance only applies to things like race and sexual orientation, just as choice only applies to abortion.

            1. Gotcha, agreed, thanks! “Choice” sure as hell does NOT apply to where your educational dollars get spent, private v/s public schools!

              1. I had a very confusing conversation with a proggy about school choice one time. Turns out they thought I was talking about abortion in schools. The idea of you, not the government, making the choice as to where your child goes to school, simply did not compute. They could not comprehend the concept.

                1. Wow, that’s hilarious! Funny and very sad at the same time…

                  1. ***OT Alert? Public v/s Private School Funding? ***

                    In my state, secular private schools (but not religious private schools) must pay real estate taxes to support the public schools! So it’s not “education” per se (if it was, we’d not tax one kind of education to support another), it’s really about STATE-CONTROLLED education, clearly?

                    We sent our kiddo to a secular private school for a few years, so yes, kiddo’s private education was taxed to support public education?

                    QUESTION for any legal eagles out there” I was tempted to try and persuade the owner / headmistress to declare her school to be “The Church of the Holy Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic” to escape those taxes? Would this work? Or? After it becomes clear that “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic” are now objects of worship, then these topics would become off-limits at public schools, perhaps? Is that why we are not allowed to believe in a “Church of the Holy Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic”? Please explain? As you would to a child?

                    1. I agree that churches and other religious institutions should not be exempt from taxes.

                2. In fairness, “school choice” is a poll-tested Orwellian euphemism (Republicans are fond of those–like “pro life” and “Clear Skies Act”). Do you understand the policy behind the slogan?

                  1. “Should the enemy dare to invade our country, annihilate them to the last man so that none of them will survive to sign the instrument of surrender!”

                  2. “School choice” simply means allowing those who pay the costs, to make the choices… Poor kids can’t get an education if we have too much freedom? There are 2 non-Government-Almighty fixes for that: Private charity supporting schools, and less licenses and degree-ism? I should be able to see an un-licensed doctor if I want to, and if the doctor does not lie to me (about, say, his lack of a degree). As is, we have licenses for interior decorators for example, clearly way in excess of what is needed.

                  3. Do you understand the policy behind the slogan?

                    Yeah. It means that parents can, if the government assigned school sucks, send their kid to a different school. Then when faced with competition instead of a captive audience, the shitty schools might actually have an incentive to improve.

                    But we know you despise this concept because you would rather choices that affect children be made by enlightened government officials instead of their parents, and because you prefer government monopolies over competition.

                  4. How dare a parent be allowed to decide where their child goes to school! Why that’s right up there with genocide, I tell you. Where are these dangerous minded individuals? We must send them straight to the gas chamber for daring to go against the masters of gov’t.

                  5. Progressives, and all other forms of statists are right to fear the term.

                    Because “school choice” adequately encompasses the underlying principle that the only valid purpose of public funds is to provide students with the best education possible.

                    Every other reason – like having a ready plantation of pro-government employees, or a source of campaign contributors, or a slush fund for rewarding political allies and cronies, or a means of indoctrinating children into your secular religious beliefs – are invalid if not outright anathema to the actual purpose of collecting those monies in the first place.

  2. Freedom of association? Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Hoooooooo ho ho ho ho ho!

    1. When freedom means doing what you’re told…

    2. The left really does hate free association, don’t they?

      1. It’s the one free thing that they don’t like.

        1. They believe in free shit not freedom.

      2. They believe in the freedom to force (other) people to associate with people they don’t want to associate with (them). (Though it doesn’t go both ways. Principals, not principles.)

        They feel that force is a right. That means that being free from force violates their right to use force.

        That’s why they despise liberty. It conflicts with their right to use force.

        1. Could we please have freedom from their version of freedom?

          1. No, because then their “freedom” wouldn’t work. The new soviet man is coming, and it takes commitment from all of us to see his dawn!

        2. And ‘Tony’ has arrived to demonstrate the truth of what sarc is saying about proggies.

          1. He’s good at that.

      3. The left really does hate free association, don’t they?

        You are allowed to freely associate with those that have the correct beliefs. Why would you possibly want to do otherwise?

    3. If everyone has the right to associate with everyone, then no one has the right to associate with anyone.

  3. At one point, honor societies had to accept D students, but even CSU cobbled together an exception for that one.

    I’ll bite, Steven. How did CSU manage *that*?

    1. They asked all the jocks who really wants to hang out with the nerds anyway.

  4. I don’t believe it.

  5. That rules of any sort exist for this is just pathetic. College students are usually people who are old enough to vote. In other words, adults. Why do they need a nanny to manage their associations for them?

  6. “You don’t want the chess club telling students they can’t be members of the chess club because of the color of their skin.”

    *** rising intonation ***

    What if it’s the *Black* Chess Club?

    1. Hmm, it would be pretty tough to play chess with just black pieces.

      1. I feel bad for the Asians, they’re stuck playing Chinese Checkers.

    2. Always bet on black

  7. Somebody should ask Scott Walker what he thinks about this.

    1. He can’t comment because he didn’t graduate. It’s like how you can’t complain if you don’t vote.

      1. winner

      2. that idea’s always struck me as being completely backwards. maybe it’s just me trying to rationalize my hatred for standing in lines, but how on earth am i responsible for the outcome of a decision i didn’t participate in making? people have argued with me that not voting is also a decision, but it’s like choosing to not go to a restaurant you know is bad rather than going and trying to get the best thing they have.

  8. *Women and minorities hardest hit*

  9. Let’s see here. If sports teams are really just clubs, then women should be allowed on men’s teams and men should be allowed on women’s teams. Right?

    1. Maybe Beuce Jenner will compete in the women’s heptathalon (I don’t think the Olympics hace a women’s decathalon).

    2. No, because segregation in athletics benefits women, so it is a good thing. If it benefitted men it would be bad.

  10. Shit, I could have fun with this.

    I’d join a sorority. Then maybe the basketball team (I’m 5’8″). Some sort of gender bender club….

    I say, embrace it and run with it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

  11. Does this extend to rape culture and AGW?

    1. “OK everyone, lets call the meeting to order – The Society of Rape and Global Warming is called to order….first item on the agenda is new membership…it appears we have applications from, well, rather a lot folks.”

      1. That’s a rather ‘secretive’ society.

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  13. Antidiscrimination rules that exist at the governmental level would seem to be adequate. Religious groups can get the same exemption churches get for discriminating based on belief, e.g., but clubs can’t discriminate based on race, sex, etc., without a good reason. This is indeed silly.

    1. “…we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless…”

    2. Did you just admit in a round about kinda way that people do have the right to discriminate and choose who they hang around? Damn, I’ve been told my whole life that you can’t increase the amount of brain cells you have. You are living proof though that I was told wrong, all these years. Congratulations Tony, you now have a whopping one brain cell.

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  15. Don’t waste your time in college . . .

  16. I’m going to found a country called Diversity. It is going to be the most oppressive, backwards shithole in the world. I’m going to ban anyone of a different ethnicity from even talking to one another. I’m then going to start a massive propaganda campaign in order to lure stupid fucking leftists to my nation. I’m then going to enslave them and force them to mine metals, log, and drill for oil. I’m going to burn the fuck out of some fossil fuels, ban any vehicle that gets over 2 mpg, and make all women the sole property of men. Wednesdays will also be kill a panda, polar bear, or dolphin day. Extra rations to anyone that kills all three.

    1. *** ON Liberal / Educational Hypocrisy About “Diversity” ****

      During an un-employed spell, I once got really-really close to getting my credentials as a teacher for HS (then I found a real job), so I know a wee tad about this?

      The Proggy / Edu axis LOVES to praise diversity? Just so long as it does not touch THEIR paychecks & priveleges! Hear me out: They praise diversity, we all know that? Now how about Christian schools, or Atheist or Islamic or Democrat or Republican schools? Can my kids and I be “diverse” 7 days a week, not just 2 days a week? ? Well, yes, but only if I am rich enough to pay for the public schools AND my private schooling, both at the same time! If I can NOT afford that, my kids ***WILL*** be secular, 5 days a week, whether I want them to be “diverse”, or not! No libertarian school; for you, kiddo!

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    1. She was separated at birth from his buddy’s other sister. The other sister makes half as much.

  18. Why do public universities have on-campus social groups at all?

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