Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Vandy Problem

When you mention Vanderbilt University to most folks from Bama....about the only thing we will say is that it's one of the easier NCAA football teams to beat.  Beyond that, we can't say much of anything.  If you mentioned to a Bama guy that Vandy is a private college....they'd be shocked.

Vandy is this college that got started in the late 1800s, by a donation by Commodore Vanderbilt....the millioniare.  His idea was to help in the rebuilding of the south, and that a bunch of smart guys would help make this happen.  So they run with a $3 billion trust fund and donations by lots of folks who made themselves into legends later in life (Al Gore was one of those guys).

In the past couple of months.....Vandy has had this little issue brewing.  There are various student clubs on the campus, which generate participation and rules to be a member.  So there's this understanding that the university leadership tended to avoid messing with these clubs....up until now.

The school has decided that these religious clubs all have to be clearly led by university students.....but you can't require your club's leadership to be a certain faith, or practice a faith in a certain way.  Naturally, a number of student religious groups are kind of hostile over this new rule.  If you are in a Baptist club.....and a ranking club officer (like the president of the club), then you ought to be Baptist.  The mere suggestion that some Pakistani guy with a Muslim background....could join the Baptist club, and possibly end up as an officer of the club.....angers some students.

So this has been taken up by various southern religious groups, as a confrontation effort by Vandy against their religious beliefs.  Vandy has tried to explain this....they just want everyone to be happy, and you don't need to force anything religious on anybody.  Just smile, clap for the football team, stay pure, and you can be a Vandy grad.

This being a private college....they can make just about any rule they want....and it's going to stick.  In case you were curious....it's $41k a year for tuition.  So just getting your kid through four years would run almost $240k if you consider tuition, food, and booze.  I'm guessing that most kids won't care about this religious policy, and just worry about booze being halted around campus.

I sat and pondered over this.  Typically, if you had a butcher's club....you'd want your leadership in the club to be butchers.  But in this case...a vegetarian could easily pass through and become president of the butcher's club.  It makes sense.

Typically, if you had a mechanic's club....you'd want your leadership in the club to be mechanics.  But in this case.....a Amish guy could easily pass through and become president of the mechanic's club.  That makes sense.

Typically, if you had a virgin's club....you'd want your leadership in the club to be virgins.  But in this case.....a trailer slutty gal from Little Rock could easily pass through and become president of the virgin's club.  That makes sense.

Typically, if you had a radical anarchist's club....you'd want your leadership in the club to be anarchists.  But in this case.....a Republican guy could easily pass through and become president of the anarchist's club.  That makes sense.

I would suggest that Vandy might want to put some extra effort into football.....and try to forget about it's efforts to control religious groups.  Things might get bogged down a bit....if you ask me.


University leaders say the policy ensures that campus organizations are open to all students. Opponents of the ban say it restricts their freedom of religion.