Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, speaks about his bill targeting Vanderbilt's "all-comers" policy for student groups during a House floor session in Nashville on Monday, April 30, 2012/ The Tennessean
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The House has passed a bill to bar public universities and colleges from implementing nondiscrimination policies for student groups.
The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon passed on a 75-21 vote on Monday. The bill does not include private institutions like Vanderbilt University -- a provision that caused Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to veto last year's version.
Pody said the measure is aimed at preventing colleges from creating policies requiring student groups to open membership to all students and allow all members to seek leadership posts.
Christian groups have protested a similar policy at Vanderbilt, saying it forces them to allow nonbelievers and gay students to join. Officials say about 15 student groups have refused to comply with the policy, while 480 have accepted it.