A campus Christian group that refused a student a leadership role because she is a lesbian opted to decline College funding and status after being found to have violated Colby’s nondiscrimination policy.
Colby Christian Fellowship was named in a complaint filed with the Office of Campus Life in September by a student CCF member who had sought the position of Bible study leader. After discussions with College officials, the group decided to opt out of Colby funding and recognition by the Student Government Association in order to continue to “gather around beliefs that are informed by their specific interpretation of scriptural authority,” said Jed Wartman, director of campus life.
The group is a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, a national evangelical and interdenominational organization. The situation has cropped up at other colleges and universities with various outcomes.
“This is one of those instances where an institution and probably a majority of the people at an institution, myself included, understand this as a really important category of identity that is deserving of protection,” Kurt Nelson, dean of spiritual life, said, “whereas [the CCF] would understand this specific instance as a question of Biblical interpretation.”
The student in question is a sophomore who was an active member of the group as a first-year student. In an interview with an online student publication the student who was denied a role in the CCF described the experience as “heartbreaking.”
She said she remained “a strong Christian.”
“I want to make it very clear that I love all the CCF members and respect their beliefs and the freedom they have to hold them,” she said in the interview. “I just don’t support the idea that an organization can act on such beliefs by kicking anyone out of leadership because of their sexual orientation, especially not at Colby.”
The student asked that her name not be disclosed in Colby.