CLS v. Martinez did not require public universities — and certainly not private universities like Vanderbilt — to adopt “accept all comers to all groups” policies like the one Vanderbilt is claiming to enact. (I say “claiming” because Vandy has decided that its powerful fraternities and sororities can go right on discriminating on the basis of sex.) This policy is purely a political decision on Vanderbilt’s part.
Even more creepily, though, it’s also a religious decision by Vanderbilt, a supposedly secular university. Vanderbilt is declaring that if your religious beliefs don’t agree with the university’s beliefs about how religion should work, you’re no longer to be treated equally on its campus. Simply put, Vanderbilt has decided that its own beliefs about religion are more important than its students’ beliefs. If I were a student in one of Vanderbilt’s surviving religious groups, I know what I’d be wondering: which one of my religious beliefs might be next up on the administration’s chopping block?
Robert Shibley is the senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).