What's lost in not recognizing campus religious groups

Although the law clearly gives universities a choice about whether to recognize these clubs, universities would do well to weigh what their campus communities lose in de-recognizing religious groups. This decision doesn’t just hurt students of faith—InterVarsity has already announced that it is “re-creating” itself at Cal State to adapt to the new rules. The bigger loss comes from stunting pluralism on college campuses, arguably one of the places where it’s most important to create space for competing ideas.

Harvard University’s Pluralism Project writes that pluralism is “not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity … not just tolerance, but the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference” and “the encounter of commitments.” The same universities that make room for sex-segregated clubs like sororities and fraternities, honor societies centered on academic abilities, LGBQT clubs led by those who truly believe in LGBQT rights, and teams built around athletic prowess are only strengthened by allowing groups based around distinct belief systems.

As John Inazu, an associate professor of law at Washington University School of Law, wrote recently, “Pluralism rests on three interrelated aspirations: tolerance, humility, and patience.” All three of these qualities are not only compatible with higher education, but they are, in fact, essential for authentic learning…