Praising The Joys of Hate
2 September 2011 by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
There is a growing controversy brewing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with regards to their a cappella group Psalm 100. That group voted to remove openly gay senior Will Thomason reportedly because of his views on homosexuality. He had been part of the group since he was a freshman. As a university recognized student group, Psalm 100 must abide by the school’s nondiscrimination policy.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp has stated that the university will be investigating whether or not the group violated the nondiscrimination policy. The policy states that university approved groups can limit membership with regards to those who share the group’s views, but not discriminate against individuals characteristics including sexual orientation.
Crisp informed one newspaper that “Our commitment to nondiscrimination is bedrock strong but so is our commitment to the First Amendment rights of freedom of association. The nondiscrimination policy for student organizations tries very hard to balance those issues.”
According to Blake Templeton, the general director of the group, Thomason was removed because his views on homosexuality clashed with the Bible and the group’s views on homosexuality, not because Thomason is gay.
Nonetheless, Zealan Hoover, the student body vice president, has asked that the student solicitor general prepare a legal brief and that the student body treasurer prepare a list of all funds allocated to Psalm 100. So far, there has not been a formal complaint about Thomason being forced out of the group. Still, Crisp has stated “We’re going to take the time that is necessary to thoroughly investigate the issues before we draw any conclusion.”
For his part, Thomason remains friends with members of the group and has said “I’m especially appreciative of the willingness of the larger UNC community to openly engage in the dialogue and I trust there will be continued respect for all parties involved.”