Petitioners Calling For Harvard To Reinstate Christian Student Group

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CAMBRIDGE — Harvard University’s largest Christian faith organization has been under fire from administrators over the apparent sin of conducting itself according to core religious beliefs, and now a petition calling on the elite institution to lift its suspension of Harvard College Faith and Action has garnered nearly 8,000 signatures. 

The saga for HCFA began last semester, when the organization directed one of its female student leaders, an assistant Bible course leader, to step down after she became romantically involved with another female student. The student resigned from the organization in September, according to a Harvard Crimson report, and last month the school’s student life office elected to place HCFA on a year-long “administrative probation.”

Harvard spokesman Aaron Goldman told the student newspaper in a prepared statement that “after a thorough review and finding that HCFA (Harvard College Faith and Action) had conducted itself in a manner grossly inconsistent with the expectations clearly outlined in [the Office of Student Life’s] Student Organization Resource and Policy Guide, OSL has placed HCFA on a one year administrative probation.”

The question now, according to HCFA, is whether all religious student organizations can continue to conduct themselves in the manner consistent with their own religious beliefs, or whether college Christians are being unfairly singled out. 

Per the petition:

“Harvard has suspended a Christian organization because the group insisted its student leaders should conform to orthodox Christian standards for sexual conduct.”

“As an independent and autonomous student organization, HCFA has the right to select its own leadership and set standards for leaders within the organization. Would Harvard force a Muslim student group to retain a student leader who decided to convert to Christianity? Would Harvard force an LGBT+ group to retain a student leader who expressed views critical of same-sex relationships? Of course not.”


Harvard University graduate student Caroline Craddock, a member of HCFA, launched the petition, according to an HCFA press release, “because she is concerned about growing hostility toward people of faith on campus.”

“The administration’s decision to suspend HCFA is an ominous sign for all religious groups at Harvard University,” Craddock said in an emailed statement. “Harvard’s non-discrimination rules apparently justify discrimination against Christians and other religious groups that hold socially conservative views.”