June 23rd, 2009
06:44 PM ET
13 years ago

Liberty U., College Democrats reach agreement on recognition

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Liberty University's College Democrats again will be recognized by the school after the two sides reached a compromise, school and club officials say.

Controversy ensued last month after the school announced it was revoking official recognition for the chapter, citing moral beliefs held by its parent organization. Specifically, Liberty was upset with the national Democrats' views supporting abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

In an agreement announced Tuesday, whose terms begin with the fall semester, Liberty will classify all political clubs as "unofficial" - meaning they will not receive any funding from the institution, but can use its facilities. According to the university's new policy, posted on its Web site, such groups will be able to use Liberty's name "as long as they make it clear they are not being endorsed by the university."

The college Democrats were never going to be banned from the campus. Now the school will treat the College Democrats and Republicans in the same manner.

"We had no policy governing unofficial clubs before all of this controversy," Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said in a statement on the university's Web site. "The new policy will allow Liberty to protect its Christian mission and at the same time will allow the political clubs to achieve their objectives."

Groups will not be able to use of the facilities "...for purposes that are in conflict with the university's mission statement or doctrinal beliefs," the policy states.

Club officials, who worked with the university throughout the weekend hammering out the agreement, tell CNN they are pleased with the outcome.

"Our goal throughout this whole situation was to be put on the same playing field as our counterparts," College Democrats Secretary Jan Derwish says. "I believe it is a fair compromise."

"Things just worked out better than we could have hoped," incoming chapter president Joel Krautter tells CNN. "I am just appreciative of all the support," including emails and petitions from around the nation.

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