The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday August 11th

Non-discrimination policy task force to begin meeting next week

More than two months after the University decided to review its non-discrimination policy for student groups, it has yet to begin discussion of the issue.

Next week, a committee of students, faculty and staff charged with examining the policy will begin meeting, though not all of the committee members have been chosen yet, Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls said in an email.

The review is in response to the University’s investigation into the Christian a cappella group Psalm 100. In August, the group expelled senior Will Thomason, who is gay, for his views on homosexuality.

In October, administrators found the group did not violate the non-discrimination policy, which allows groups to limit membership based on an individual’s views as long as no student is excluded based on a set of characteristics, including sexual orientation.

Thomason said he is frustrated that the review hasn’t moved faster. “They made it clear that they would do a thorough job, but it’s taking longer than I would have hoped,” he said.

The committee will be led by Sauls and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Bettina Shuford.

Shuford said she and Sauls wanted to ensure a wide representation of students and faculty, and exams and winter break stalled the process further.

“Right now we are nailing down the last one or two participants who have been invited,” Sauls said. He added that there will be 12 to 15 members on the committee.

Shuford said the review will begin by examining the current policy and how it was originally implemented.

“We are going into this meeting with an open mind,” she said.

The committee will also review the non-discrimination policies of other institutions, Sauls said.

“We will discuss what, if any, alternatives should be considered to ensure opportunities for all students.”

Terri Phoenix, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Center at UNC, said any revisions to the policy need to be specific enough to be enforced.

“I’m satisfied that we are moving on it,” Phoenix said.

Thomason said he hopes the committee will produce a clear policy that will address groups centered on ideological beliefs.

“This is a great opportunity for UNC to be a leader in progressivism and make a fair non-discrimination policy,” he said.

“In an ideal world, I would have liked the policy to have been changed in October but I realize that isn’t always possible.”

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