The Tennessee Board of Regents is questioning the logic of legislation that prevents public colleges from enforcing nondiscrimination rules on religious student groups. The bill responds to an ongoing dispute at Vanderbilt University, even though private institutions are excluded.
The legislation would prevent administrators from requiring student groups to drop faith requirements for membership or leadership positions, as Vanderbilt has done.
TBR Chancellor John Morgan says he doesn’t know exactly how the proposed law would affect MTSU, Austin Peay or Tennessee Tech, but he doesn’t see a need.
“Far as I know, that has not been an issue at any of the public institutions in Tennessee, yet we’re going to pass a law that only applies to public institutions? It’s hard for me to understand that.”
A summary of the bill – which is scheduled for a Senate vote Monday night – says religious student organizations would be allowed to choose leaders who are committed to their mission and that no higher education institution could deny recognition of a group because of the religious content of their speech.