The purpose of a bill like this may not be fully explained in the opening line of the story below. While it may be true that the left loves to infiltrate and take over conservative groups, this really addresses the issue of whether religious student organizations can protect the tenets of their religion.
Zack Budryk of Inside Higher Ed reports.
Wielding the Club
Should it be possible for campus Democrats to sign up for a campus Republican club just to disrupt its activities? Would Democrats really do so? Or would Jewish students try to take over the Roman Catholic organization? A bill passed this month in Virginia’s Senate would seek to prevent such actions — by letting student organizations at public colleges restrict their membership to students who agree with their stated agenda.
Critics, however, have suggested that the legislation is a bid to undercut campus anti-bias rules.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain, a Republican, allows public college and university groups to rule that “only persons committed to the organization’s mission may conduct certain activities”. Obenshain has argued that without such protections, groups could be undermined by members who did not agree with their mission. “It’s pretty simple: a Democratic club shouldn’t have to accept a Republican as a member and members of a religious group should be able to expect that their leadership will share the group’s core commitments,” Obenshain said, according to the Roanoke Times. “It’s perfectly reasonable for an organization to expect its members to agree with, and be good examples of, the organization’s mission.”
The bill raises some of the same issues as those raised by the 2010 Supreme Court decision Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which upheld the University of California Hastings College of Law’s right to make an “all-comers” rule (which would require a group to admit any interested students, regardless of ideology) a condition of a group’s recognition by the law school. Many groups that violate an all-comers rule violate anti-bias rules as adopted by many public institutions.