Evangelical students fail in bid to be called 'Christian Union'

By staff writers
October 14, 2006

Evangelical students fail in bid to be called 'Christian Union'

-14/10/06

Evangelical students at Exeter university have failed in their bid to call themselves the "Christian Union" and have had their accounts frozen pending a full review into the society's Equal Opportunities policy.

A referendum was held at the university this week about whether the 'Evangelical Christian Union' should be able to change its name to the 'Christian Union'.

For more than 50 years, students at the Devon university have organised evangelistic events under the name of the Exeter University Christian Union. However in May a complaint was made against them that the group was too exclusive. The student Guild subsequently changed the name to "Evangelical Christian Union."

Opposition has been growing in universities up and down the country to many Christian Unions over their approaches to gay and lesbian people. They have also been accused of operating discriminatory policies over appointments to their executives.

Other Christian groups also operate in universities, holding different positions to traditional Christian Unions which tend to be evangelical in character. This calls into question say critics, the right of Evangelicals with conservative views, to have a monopoly on the name 'Christian'.

Voting in the referendum at Exeter University, about whether the Evangelical Christian Union should be able to change its name to the 'Christian Union', finished on Friday. The ìNoî campaign won the referendum with a 55% majority. Of the 582 votes, 317 were in favour of keeping the existing name, reports Kathryn Nott for the Exeter Students website X-net.

According to the website, the result of the referendum will still need to be ratified at the university Guild Council.

Tim Paulden, leader of the ìNoî campaign told X-Net News, ìThe referendum result is a significant victory for democracy and human rights, and a hammerblow against religious bigotry and intolerance. For years, this society has deceptively marketed itself as the 'Christian Union' while systematically silencing and discriminating against Christians who are not evangelical.î

"Today, this cynical ruse has finally come to an end. The result of the referendum and the GSA motion passed yesterday represent the first two steps towards a future in which every Exeter student will have their beliefs accepted and welcomed. We sincerely hope that all religious societies ñincluding the ECU ñ will be willing to work together to achieve this goal."

ECU President James Harding said, "To be honest, I'm just glad it's all over".

However a meeting of the Guild Societies Association (GSA) on Friday also saw the Evangelical Christian Union's accounts temporarily frozen, and their privileges as a Guild society removed pending a full review into the society's Equal Opportunities policy, following a vote by society presidents.

Evangelical students fail in bid to be called 'Christian Union'

-14/10/06

Evangelical students at Exeter university have failed in their bid to call themselves the "Christian Union" and have had their accounts frozen pending a full review into the society's Equal Opportunities policy.

A referendum was held at the university this week about whether the 'Evangelical Christian Union' should be able to change its name to the 'Christian Union'.

For more than 50 years, students at the Devon university have organised evangelistic events under the name of the Exeter University Christian Union. However in May a complaint was made against them that the group was too exclusive. The student Guild subsequently changed the name to "Evangelical Christian Union."

Opposition has been growing in universities up and down the country to many Christian Unions over their approaches to gay and lesbian people. They have also been accused of operating discriminatory policies over appointments to their executives.

Other Christian groups also operate in universities, holding different positions to traditional Christian Unions which tend to be evangelical in character. This calls into question say critics, the right of Evangelicals with conservative views, to have a monopoly on the name 'Christian'.

Voting in the referendum at Exeter University, about whether the Evangelical Christian Union should be able to change its name to the 'Christian Union', finished on Friday. The ìNoî campaign won the referendum with a 55% majority. Of the 582 votes, 317 were in favour of keeping the existing name, reports Kathryn Nott for the Exeter Students website X-net.

According to the website, the result of the referendum will still need to be ratified at the university Guild Council.

Tim Paulden, leader of the ìNoî campaign told X-Net News, ìThe referendum result is a significant victory for democracy and human rights, and a hammerblow against religious bigotry and intolerance. For years, this society has deceptively marketed itself as the 'Christian Union' while systematically silencing and discriminating against Christians who are not evangelical.î

"Today, this cynical ruse has finally come to an end. The result of the referendum and the GSA motion passed yesterday represent the first two steps towards a future in which every Exeter student will have their beliefs accepted and welcomed. We sincerely hope that all religious societies ñincluding the ECU ñ will be willing to work together to achieve this goal."

ECU President James Harding said, "To be honest, I'm just glad it's all over".

However a meeting of the Guild Societies Association (GSA) on Friday also saw the Evangelical Christian Union's accounts temporarily frozen, and their privileges as a Guild society removed pending a full review into the society's Equal Opportunities policy, following a vote by society presidents.

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