The Fellowship of Christian Athletes has decided to take on Vandy regarding their new religious discrimination rules. And they are hitting them where it hurts the most. In the wallet.
As Vandy starts to turn the corner on athletics the administration finds a way to throw up a barrier to success.
Vanderbilt’s all-comers policy which requires student organizations to allow any member of the student body to join the group and run for leadership, has faced heavy criticism from Christian groups on campus. They say the policy discriminates against religious groups by allowing nonbelievers to run for leadership positions.
Vandy QB Rodgers, was representing the campus chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he made a short speech more than two hours into a meeting on the subject. When Rodgers wasn't afforded a response to a statement, roughly 20 students exited the meeting in a huff.
Does anyone besides me hearken back a similar walk out during a little movie called "Animal house"
Warning: Harsh language.
While I question if the Vandy FCA has a "Death mobile" I hear there has been a sudden run on marbles. There is also a a growing push back where it will hurt Vandy the most. In the wallet.
How is the aggressiveness against religious groups working out for vandy?
The April issue of Commodore Nation magazine, distributed to supporters of Vanderbilt athletics, features a cover story titled “The Rising Cost of Success.” The issue is replete with renderings and fundraising pitches.
Vice Chancellor of University Affairs and Athletics David Williams readily admits that Vanderbilt is far behind in the arms race that is SEC athletics.
In a Q&A with Williams, the magazine asks how another million dollars in annual donations would affect the athletic budget.
“To be truthful, we are so behind our competitors here that while a $1 million would help, we actually need much more!” Williams responds in the article.
According to the magazine, Vanderbilt has the second-largest athletic endowment in the SEC with $45 million. But annual giving is dead last, with only $2.9 million.
And the magazine quotes several “big ticket items” that require an “urgency to identify major gifts”: a new Jumbotron, lights and turf for Vanderbilt Stadium, new turf for Hawkins Field, a new Jumbotron for Memorial Gym and renovations to the McGugin Center, which houses athletic operations. The total need is around $35 million, the magazine said.
Vanderbilt is also in the process of fundraising for a new multipurpose facility that will include a full-length practice field for football. Williams said the school is between $4 million and $6 million away from raising enough to cover the facility, which will include an expansion to the Student Recreation Center.
But when the Vanderbilt Board of Trust met on campus in April, a group called Restore Religious Freedom at Vanderbilt ran roughly 40 attack ads on local cable channels, urging donors to stop contributing to the university. The message: “Not another dime until Vanderbilt respects religious freedom.”
Williams said he, personally, hasn’t witnessed any athletic fundraising blowback from the all-comers discussion.
“I’m not saying that there may not be people who are out there, but we haven’t encountered anybody who has made [all-comers] an issue at all,” Williams said.
At least one donor says that’s just not true.
The City Paper spoke with a longtime supporter, who asked to remain anonymous, who said his family was prepared to make a six-figure donation toward the new multipurpose facility — if Vanderbilt made an exception for religious groups in the nondiscrimination policy. The donor said he met with Franklin and Williams outside of Nashville.
“We expressed ... that we would like to be able to give, we believe in what Coach Franklin’s doing, but we just can’t do that knowing what we know about what’s happening to the religious groups there,” he said.
Similarly, longtime Commodore Club member Tom Singleton has been outspoken about his disdain for the Vanderbilt policy and the school’s enforcement of it. He appears in a video, along with Brentwood’s vice mayor (and a VU alum) Rod Freeman, that denounces the policy’s nondiscrimination mandate for leadership positions.
“The reason this is so objectionable to me is that they are [opening up leadership positions in Christian groups] for non-Christians. But they are allowing fraternities and sororities to discriminate based on gender,” Singleton said. “I can’t, in good conscience, continue to be associated with them.”
Singleton said he didn’t renew his football and basketball season tickets — and that he was cutting all ties with the school.
UPDATE: Link to City paper story quoted added.