NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — A newly enforced nondiscrimination policy on Cal State campuses is having a major effect on a national Christian organization.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship members say the university system no longer recognizes the group because students in leadership positions are required to be Christian.
At Cal State Northridge, members of the organization prayed Monday night to protect its existence.
"There needs to be a different set of rules for religious clubs, as there are for fraternities and sports clubs," member Brandon Tisor said.
The group's bylaws set forth the requirement that student leaders identify as Christian. University officials now consider this discriminatory and say religious groups at publicly financed campuses should be held to the same anti-bias standard as everyone else.
Cal State officials sent CBS2/KCAL9 a statement that read in part: "InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has chosen not to comply with state law and CSU policy. Even as an unrecognized student organization, they may continue to meet on CSU campuses and enjoy a number of the same benefits as the broader campus community."
InterVarsity students say they are no longer recruit on campus or receive school funding as a result of the decision, which affects thousands of students at all 23 Cal State campuses.
"We have to pay money for rooms, we have to pay money for extra things to do off campus, and so it puts a big financial burden on all of us," member Melissa Montecuollo said.
InterVarsity maintains membership is open to anyone and refuses to change its policies regarding leadership.
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