I wanted to give you all an update as to what happened over the summer in regards to the Nu Chapter of BYX. If you have been paying attention to the happenings at Vanderbilt over the past two years, you know about the background story, the time spent waiting for answers from the University, and the push of students to dialogue and convey to the administration at Vandy our desire for the new policy for student organizations to have a religious exemption. Vanderbilt has made it clear to the religious organizations that they value their student organization policy over religious groups having criteria for leaders and, in BYX’s case, members.
Due to this, we, as the Nu chapter of BYX, are no longer a recognized student organization (RSO) at Vanderbilt. Our question over the summer has been, “What will we look like on campus?” and “What privileges will we have with the University?” Recently we have received those answers.
Vanderbilt has given the Nu chapter of BYX, along with all the other religious organizations who are no longer RSOs, the ability to reserve meeting space on campus for the next year free of charge. This is great news! Our biggest challenge as a chapter moving forward will be having space where we can meet for chapter, host parties, and other gatherings. Temporarily this problem has been solved. One thing that we do know is that the ability to reserve space on campus, free of charge, will not last forever. Yes, we view this currently as a big blessing, but we know that there are still going to be challenges to face down the road.
Sadly we were not invited to attend the biggest event in which BYX has been promoted to the school, which is the Student Organization Fair in the beginning of the year. We cannot gather as BYX at our school’s Founder’s Walk, a tradition where the freshman are cheered-on by student organizations as they walk through certain parts of campus.
We can no longer put up flyers anywhere we want on campus; there are 3 areas in which we are able to do so, but our ability to go “ALL-OUT!” on promotional materials for our parties is gone. We cannot use Vanderbilt-issued listserves or be associated with the Vanderbilt name. That means we cannot be “Vanderbilt BYX” anymore.
With all of this change, and loss of privileges due to our decision to stick to our God-given convictions, it can be hard to view the future of the Nu chapter of BYX positively. Even the golden nugget of reserving space on campus will eventually go away.
What will this mean for us? Will we continue to exist in 5 years? It is in these questions I look to Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
We know that the Hope of the world is in us, the hope of a life far greater than anything this world can offer us, and that is the hope of being brought back to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be difficult times. We are promised that in God’s Word. We may be put to shame for our faith, but in no way are we ashamed of our faith (Romans 1:16). God has been giving us all the strength we need to move forward.
We know this year at Vanderbilt will look different. We will have to be a little more creative in promoting BYX, and word of mouth advertising and communication to freshmen will be stressed even more. But we are confident that BYX will continue to thrive at Vanderbilt. God willing, as long as there are students at Vanderbilt who have a desire for an alternative to the typical fraternal lifestyle, that know the saving grace of Christ, BYX will faithfully be there to reach out to those students to offer a community of true brotherhood and unity through Christ.
Nu Chapter President