A Christian university in Tennessee is standing behind its student senate’s decision not to officially recognize a local chapter of the pro-life activist organization Students for Life of America. However, students are still hopeful they will be able to get recognition in the spring.
The student senate at Bethel University in Tennessee, an institution affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with over 4,500 undergraduates, rejected a bid by students to have their Students for Life chapter recognized as an on-campus club in early November.
Students for Life exists to “abolish abortion” and “transform culture by helping young people make abortion unthinkable and obsolete on their campus, in their community, and in our nation.” Across the country, there are 1,200 Students for Life groups at high schools and colleges.
After some expressed concern with the decision to not grant Students for Life recognition on campus considering it is a Christian institution that holds pro-life views, the Bethel University administration issued a statement expressing why it did not step in to override the student senate’s decision to reject the pro-life student group.
“Student clubs and organizations must be approved by the Bethel Student Senate to be recognized as official and receive funding,” the school’s statement reads. “The student senators evaluate each new group based on its alignment with Bethel’s mission, values, and Covenant for Life Together, as well as its ability to demonstrate that Bethel ‘would be better with this club or organization.’”
The Bethel statement explains that following a debate, the student senators concluded that the Students for Life proposal “did not sufficiently meet the final criterion.”
“Some have asked why Bethel’s administration doesn’t intervene in situations like this. In fact, we do, but in a way that honors the living/learning community we foster at Bethel,” the statement explains. “Learning and personal development can be a messy process.”
The university’s statement added that the school strives to “create a safe space for our students to think critically, learn, explore, and navigate the results of their decisions.”
According to the university, its student life staff is working with student senators to “explore the nuances of this decision.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith