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Letter to the Editor

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 08:11

 

Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that the Tufts Community Union Judiciary has recently ruled to derecognize the Tufts Christian Fellowship on the grounds that it requires leaders affirm certain beliefs that the group holds as central to its identity.

Though I understand the TCUJ’s concern to protect students from unjust discrimination based on religious preference and applaud their desire to promote an equitable and diverse campus, I must in this case voice my strong disapproval of their action in regards to TCF. Tufts’ non−discrimination policy is rightly intended to protect students from being excluded from participation or leadership in a student group based on a characteristic that is irrelevant to the group’s activity itself (i.e. unjust discrimination).

It is surely not intended to prevent groups from considering qualities or commitments that are seen as essential to success in the relevant leadership position, such as the Beelzebubs’ evaluation of potential members based on musical talent, or the Tufts jazz band’s evaluation based on improvisational ability — something I myself experienced as a freshman when the director at the time wisely suggested I practice my scales and come back the following year.

I am concerned by this decision, as I cannot help but see in it a misapplication of Tufts’ non−discrimination policy, a misunderstanding of the school’s founding value of tolerance and a subtle encroachment on religious liberty on campus.

I am currently teaching at an international school overseas and often speak highly of Tufts to my students, recommending they consider it in their college search. It is my sincere hope that the administration will take action soon to ensure that Tufts continues to display the true diversity which made my college experience so memorable and worth recommending.

Sincerely,

Paul Johnson

Class of 2004

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