University of Wisconsin Approves Policy Change

InterVarsity president Alec Hill released the following statement in reaction to recent action by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents:

On Friday, December 8, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents adopted a policy change that directly impacts student organizations such as InterVarsity. We are thankful that the regents recognized a change was necessary. We hope that their action will allow our chapters at UW-Superior and UW-Madison to be fully recognized soon.

The policy states:

Student organizations that select their members or officers on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g. religious or political beliefs) may limit membership, officers positions, or participation in the organization to students who affirm that they support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs, so long as no student is excluded from membership, officer positions, or participation on the basis of his or her race, color, creed other than commitment to the beliefs of the organization, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status, or, unless exempt under Title IX, sex.

This policy is in addition to other requirements for the official recognition of student organizations set forth in UW System or institutional policy documents, except that, to the extent that such UW System or institutional policy documents are inconsistent with this policy statement, they are superseded.

InterVarsity’s federal lawsuit against UW-Superior remains open due to past harm (the de-recognition of the chapter ). This will allow for judicial oversight of the implementation of the new policy. We remain concerned about how the policy will be applied on the campuses of the University of Wisconsin.