Two national Christian clubs with Cal Poly chapters — Campus Crusades (Cru) and InterVarsity — were disaffiliated last fall, but are back on campus this year.
At the time of Cru’s and InterVarsity’s disaffiliations, the California State University (CSU) system required all CSU clubs to sign a non-discrimination statement, which ensured religion would not be a requirement for leadership.
Cru and InterVarsity did not agree with these new measures and were disaffiliated for not signing the statement, as publicly stated at a Cru meeting.
Cru Mission Team Leader Jamey Pappas wanted to keep Cru’s Christian roots.
“We are just an organization that wants to be real about Christianity,” Pappas said at the time of disaffiliation. “Yet this entails that the people who lead meetings and prayer services must be Christian, which makes sense because we are a Christian club.”
Cru and InterVaristy’s national organizations actively pursued a solution with the CSU as soon as they were disaffiliated for the 2014-15 school year.
A year’s worth of lengthy talks finally came to fruition last spring quarter, as the CSU system, Cru and InterVarsity came to an agreement that allowed both organizations to re-affiliate with Cal Poly as well as other schools.
The agreement entails that Cru and InterVarsity both have to accept applications from future student leaders without a profession of faith. Both organizations changed their bylaws accordingly in order to comply with the CSU’s new standards for affiliated clubs and student organizaitons.
On changing their bylaws, Greg Jao, InterVaristy’s National Director of Campus engagement, said, “What we worked out was Cal State’s key interest was that every student should have the ability to be a member and run for leadership. We’re very comfortable with that — in fact, we would love it if every student would come out for InterVarsity. It would save us a lot of effort.”
Furthermore, the agreement is uniquely Californian in that it is one of the only recent major changes in higher education discrimination policy that affects a system as large as the CSU.
Due to their recognized status, Cru can easily reserve rooms on campus and participate in the Week of Welcome club showcase, as well as have a presence during the annual Open House events. InterVaristy has also regained recognition from Cal Poly and now has the same privileges as Cru.
In the first few weeks of fall quarter, Cru set up a small area in the University Union (UU) in order to spread information about the organization and show that it is now re-affiliated with Cal Poly.
While Cru can now use campus space with significantly less effort, it will still conduct its weekly Tuesday meetings at Mountainbrook Community Church.
Cru and InterVarsity are back on campus, but Christian fraternity Alpha Gamma Omega (AGO) remains barred because of religious restrictions.
Despite having a booth in the UU for a short period of time this fall, AGO has been disaffiliated from Cal Poly since March 2009 and is listed as such by the Dean of Students.
Executive Order 1068, a memorandum from the CSU Chancellor’s Office, reads, “No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society or other student organization unless its membership and leadership are open to all currently enrolled students at that campus.”
AGO allows men of different faiths to join the organization, but leadership positions are only open to Christian members.
On disaffiliation the fraternity’s website states, “We reserve leadership in the fraternity for members who have signed the fraternity Statement of Faith, and profess belief in Jesus Christ. Because our elected officers are required to be Christians, the university disaffiliated itself from Alpha Gamma Omega in accordance with Executive Order 1068.”
AGO’s “sister” Christian sorority, Alpha Delta Chi’s San Luis Obispo chapter was founded separately from Cal Poly in 2008. The sorority requires its members to remain abstinent until marriage, attend church regularly and not consume alcohol or use illegal drugs.