"It's just that many of us looked at them for the first time in several years. In the past the whole "submit your constitution to the University for approval" had just been a formality, a hoop to jump through. So many of us just hadn't paid much attention, to be honest."
Great, so the cause for all this drama is a rule about whether you can put a certain clause into a document that previously nobody in the entire world cared about at all.
See what I mean about "no real world impact"?? Somehow these groups have managed to elect their own leaders effectively for all these years without leaning on their constitutions for guidance. Wonders never cease.
You guys have covered the angle of "university PR disaster" wonderfully. I agree fully with that, they never should have stepped in this. But what a joke it is for administrators of some of these groups to very intentionally stir up a national media controversy over documents that the leaders themselves admit have always been irrelevant to the actual function of these groups.
"So, in practice, no one changed what they did "
Eureka! So you mean to say that what really matters is what is done "in practice"? I certainly wouldn't know that from how these 11 groups are handling things.
Suggestion for the religious groups: submit whatever minute changes in constitutional language the powers-that-be at VU are asking for, and then, "in practice", continue to not change what you do. In other words, take exactly the same course of action you were so comfortable with before.