WCF constitution draft affirms non-discrimination policy

Following a five-hour retreat on Saturday, Williams Christian Fellowship (WCF), has drafted a constitution that remains in the revision process. The current group of WCF executive leaders, as well as some former members of the WCF executive board, will be meeting with Interim President Wagner and Dean Merrill today to discuss the constitution as it currently stands. In the process of writing its constitution, WCF affirmed its affiliation with InterVarsity (IV) and clarified its stance regarding the selection of WCF executive team and sub-group leaders. It is not yet clear when the document will be finalized.

Controversy arose surrounding both IV and the selection of WCF sub-group leaders following the separation two weeks ago of Athletes’ Bible Study (ABS) from WCF as a result of an ABS student leader’s refusal to renounce active homosexuality. The separation was determined the best course of action, due to the fact that IV requires all student leaders of IV-affiliated groups to adhere to an interpretation of the Bible which stipulates that all sexual activity should be confined to within heterosexual marriage.

“The constitution is an attempt to resolve the conflict at hand,” said Michelle Almeida ’13, a member of WCF’s executive leadership team. “We are trying to come up with a document that would make WCF’s principles clear to its members, to its leaders, to the administration and to the school on the whole.”

According to Almeida, past operating procedures were informal. “They were based on the way things have always been done, and there has never been a written form,” she said.

The constitution contains six articles. It currently states that WCF is affiliated with IV, but that the relationship between the two groups will be reevaluated on a yearly basis. The document also states that all members who wish to be a part of the executive leadership team or to hold another leadership position “must agree to advocate and conform their lives to the letter and spirit of WCF’s Basis of Faith.” More specifically, executive and sub-group leaders are “expected to abide by and advocate traditional evangelical Christian norms of personal moral behavior,” including but not limited to “norms of honesty, racial reconciliation … [and] sexual chastity.” The document also includes an explicit affirmation of the College’s non-discrimination policy and requests that any member of the community who feels discriminated against in some way “should take action.”

Approximately 20 members of WCF attended the retreat, which began with a meeting of current and former executive leaders. IV staff member Matt Maccioli was involved in the meeting of executive leaders, but left the room when the WCF members discussed and drafted the constitution.

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