Thursday, December 07, 2006

When class and real-life mix: BYX sues UGA

This semester was my first in Constitutional Law. In fact, my final in that class is this Saturday (feel free to begin praying for me now). I got an interesting intersection between this class and my own life when I got notice from BYX nationals that our fraternity was suing the University of Georgia. I can't comment about it (as per nationals' orders), but I can post links to the Alliance Defense Fund's press release and the complaint they filed on our behalf in Federal district court.

FEELING: Litigious
LISTENING TO: Battle Hymn of the Republic


At 9:04 AM, Anonymous David Sawyer said...

Fascinating stuff, man. Thanks for posting that. I'm sure the Board of Regents will respond quickly and let BYX have its student organization status. It's not worth the embarrassment or bad press to go to court over this.

Seems unconstitutional to me anyway. I'm not sure the Board of Regents has a leg to stand on.

At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, Zeta Beta Tau lets in Christians. So why shouldn't BYX let in Jews? Since sex still continues to be an allowable discrimination (aren't nearly all university violating the law by denying guys housing in some dorms and girls in others? or was there some exception to that?), and now religion is, at what point will race again become a discriminatable factor? Age? And, also, on a side note, exactly how do they define who is Christian? A lot of people don't consider Mormons Christian although they themselves do.

Anyways, the university's policies are clear. The AJC article implies that the fraternity signed it initially, and then did not the second year. I think very simple policy says that they get kicked off. I don't see any discrimination simply because it's a Christian fraternity (as noted, Jewish fraternities accept that not all their members will be Jewish and are on most campuses sans problems according, as I'd imagine they are at UGA)

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Dillon Barker said...

To anonymous at 3:02 a.m.--

It is my understanding that while ZBT is an historically Jewish fraternity, whose ritual, ideals, and symbolism come from the Jewish faith, there are no specific requirements in their fraternity that their members be Jewish. Members are not required to conform (at least, as far as my understanding goes -- admittedly, it's a second-hand understanding that comes from friends from VU who were in ZBT) to Jewish beliefs or behavior (in fact, the president of ZBT during my junior year was a WASP-y Episcopalian).

The difference between BYX and ZBT, at least as far as I understand how ZBT works, is that BYX entire purpose is centered around Christian identity, behavior, and belief. Joining the fraternity requires, other than normal fraternity-requirements like rush and pledging, that members affirm the fraternity's Doctrinal Statement and agree to live by (and be subject to) the fraternity's Code of Conduct. This doesn't make BYX better or worse than ZBT or any other fraternity; just different. And it seems that UGA now (at least, according to the AJC article from my next post), understands that difference.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is, *generally* speaking, an organization, say, a black student union, or a feminist organization, are required to also permit whites and males accordingly. However, by their very nature they don't typically attract members of those groups. Is it really that hard for the fraternity to simply be known as a very Christian fraternity such to the point that non-Christians wouldn’t want membership (a la white fraternities at some universities to keep out blacks, as no black applicants means not having to have accept black members). They could thus still abide by the University's requirements to allow non-Christian members *if they should apply*, but as I would think the latter would be unlikely, I'm not sure I see the problem. I only have issue with this because Georgia is a public school. As religion is included in their non-discrimination code, as part of federal guidelines for such institutions I'm sure, I don't see why any organization should expect special treatment. Should Kappa Alpha, for instance, expect a special condition to prohibit black members? Or, say there is a fraternity whose published guidelines state that all members must be natural-born citizens of the United States and wants to incorporate at UGA. Would you still support this fraternity being granted exception in light of the fact that national origin is covered in the very same non-discrimination code that BYX was allowed to bypass? How much exceptions can we have to supposed important statutes? Or is

If this were occurring at a private institution, I would have no issue, as they should feel free to do as they wish.


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