Governor Rejects Bill Backing Christian Students

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has vetoed a measure that could have exempted student religious groups from Vanderbilt University's controversial "all-comers" rule.

The school calls the rule a nondiscrimination policy, but it requires campus groups to allow any student to join and run for office, regardless of their beliefs.

Some religious organizations on campus have waged a public battle to reverse the policy.

In his veto, Haslam admitted he disagreed with the school's policy, but said it's "inappropriate for government to mandate the policies of a private institution."

Opponents say the state and federal government should get involved because Vanderbilt receives significant funds from the government.

"Vanderbilt University gets about 24 million from the state and a half a billion from the federal government," Vanderbilt legal professor Carol Swain told CBN News recently.

"And so I'm hoping that the fact that they get so much federal money would be a way that legislators at the state and federal level would be able to step into the situation and at least be heard by university officials," Swain said.

A Vanderbilt University spokesman said the school is gratified the governor rejected the bill that would allow government intrusion into private institutions.

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