Originally posted by Jake.Lowery: "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.
Jake have you ever been involved in a major organizational conflict before? As so many recent studies have pointed out reason and self interest don't guide nearly as much as we believe our decisions--emotion does. This is especially true in conflict situations. Therefore, at least I've found in organizational leadership at both a church, local, and national level, the folks with the power have to be the first to reach out with a conciliatory gesture. That tends to diffuse the situation to where folks can begin to talk and slowly and cautiously work toward a solution. As an outsider looking in seems to me the admin took a hardline stance and has made no gestures of conciliation and so this thing has spiraled out of control. And yes the religious groups could if they would take a different stance. Yet, my hunch is that they feel targeted and singled out and have decided to take a stand. Others and you may disagree with their approach but it's not too surprising in these kinds of situations.
You want logic to prevail, and I would admit logic and reason tips to your side of the argument, but human beings are not just rational and logical creatures which is why organizational leadership must entail "emotional intelligence." That to me means understanding where the center of power rests in all this (the administration) seeking solutions that will assuage inflamed passions (the solidarity groups concern over religious freedom) and accomplishing the central objective (tolerance toward protected classes). Probably ain't and can't happen now. It's a shame really.