AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - The University at Buffalo has temporarily suspended a campus Christian club because the group allegedly forced its treasurer to resign because of his sexual orientation.
Steven Jackson stepped down as treasurer of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in November. Now, UB has suspended the club, and is investigating whether its constitution violates anti-discrimination laws.
The Christian club at the University at Buffalo is under scrutiny, following the resignation of an openly-gay board member. Until last month, sophomore Steven Jackson was treasurer of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Jackson declined requests for an interview with News 4, but he and his boyfriend have told the UB Spectrum that Jackson felt forced out, because he is gay.
UB Spectrum Senior News Editor Luke Hammill said, "And they also told us that there were issues with the club's constitution. That they were requiring their elected officers to sign a faith-based agreement, which raises issues, anti-discrimination issues."
The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is an officially-recognized student club, and receives money every year from UB. Publicly-funded clubs are prohibited from limiting membership, based on faith, race, sexual orientation, or personal beliefs.
"If they weren't being funded by the Student Association, then no one would be raising this issue. But the fact is that they got $6,000 from the Student Association via the mandatory student activity fee, which every student that pays tuition, pays into," explained Hammill.
The university has "asked the UB Undergraduate Student Association and the UB Campus Ministries Association to immediately investigate whether there are discriminatory practices that violate Student Association or university policy, and to take corrective actions if necessary."
The Student Association Senate will decide what to do next at its meeting on Sunday.
Hammill told News 4, "A number of things could happen. First, the Student Association could tell them, "You have to stop making people sign that faith-based agreement." Second, it could suspend the club further. Third, it could de-recognize the club. Or some combination of that."
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's vice-president did not respond to our requests for an interview Wednesday night. But she told the Spectrum that Jackson was asked to resign because he doesn't endorse the Bible verses condemning homosexuality, not because he is gay.
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