Last Wednesday, Williams College Council (CC) members voted to approve the official constitution of Athletes’ Bible Study (ABS), solidifying the group’s status as an independent student organization. Members had decided to establish the organization as separate from the Williams Christian Fellowship (WCF), under which it had previously been run, so that one of its leaders could maintain her position at the helm of ABS. The female student co-leader had been asked to step down in due to her refusal to refrain from an “actively” homosexual lifestyle (“Athletes’ Bible Study separates from WCF,” Feb. 17).
“Being an independent student group will allow ABS to determine its own rules and guidelines, as long as they fall within the lines as established by Williams,” said Caitlyn Cain ’11, ABS finance officer. She added that access to CC funding for both the group itself and specific events is another major result of their constitution being ratified by CC. “CC’s approval allows us to attain funds in order to purchase more Bibles and other study materials so that we can better continue our studies of the Bible,” Cain added.
According to Emanuel Yekutiel ’11, CC co-president, ABS’ approval by CC followed standard procedure. “They went through the same group approval process that every other group goes through,” he said. CC’s revamped Web site (collegecouncil.williams.edu) outlines the approval procedure, under which a new student organization’s leadership must work with Tim Leonard, student activities coordinator for Campus Life, to produce a constitution before it can be presented to CC.
“There are usually only two reasons why a group would not get approved: if there is another group at Williams that is already doing the same thing the group would do, or if the group poses some kind of realistic danger to the Williams community,” Yekutiel said. “ABS violates neither of these.”
ABS’ constitution, drafted by Cain and the female student co-leader, formally states the group’s purpose and establishes protocol for officer elections and membership. Cain spoke to the core values that guided her while defining the constitution. “ABS is most concerned with accepting all people and helping these people improve their relationship with God,” she said. “ABS’ mission is to provide its members with a safe place to go to learn and discuss the word of God.”
The constitution also formally establishes ABS as free of affiliation from any other campus organizations, and also without a formal faculty or staff advisor. Matt Mascioli, a staff member of InterVarsity, a non-profit that works with evangelical campus organizations nationwide, will no longer serve as an advisor to ABS given its separation from WCF. He expressed support for ABS’ latest progress.
“I am personally glad that ABS was able to craft and submit a constitution that they feel accurately represents who they are and their goals as a group,” he said. “Although I can’t necessarily speak for anybody else, I am confident that every WCF member would feel the same way and want nothing but the best for ABS as they move forward.”