Throughout the past couple of weeks, Common Ground has been tabling to petition for Student Senate to vote on defunding Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). We have been silent for a while, so we want to explain why and share our perspective.
In complete transparency, we haven’t been confident in how to handle the situation. Christianity at its core is about love. Countertabling in Seymour Gallery did not seem to align with the value of love or feel like the appropriate space to address such intimate issues. However, we were saddened to know that every day, negative things were being said about our organization. We don’t want to stay silent as people are being given what we believe to be a misguided perception of Intervarsity, our values, and our faith.
As the tabling against IVCF occurred, we noticed that certain erroneous claims about our organization had been spread. We want to be clear about what we believe: we condemn violence and conversion therapy on a campus and national level. The Vice President of Intervarsity has confirmed with us that any staff worker found to be encouraging either of these or any other form of discrimination will be fired. We want to emphasize that as an organization, Intervarsity genuinely loves and welcomes all people. Along with many other IVCF chapters across the nation, our Knox chapter is a diverse group of students who come from different backgrounds and express a variety of beliefs. We embrace and encourage such differences and grow from the discussions they generate.
Knox College prides itself on fostering a culture of respect. Our school’s website states that we strive to “build bridges across difference and listen respectfully to voices with which we disagree, to transform ourselves so that society in turn may be transformed.” However, across many issues on campus, we feel that as a student body we are not leaving room for disagreement when differing perspectives are publicized.
There is much more that we would like to discuss. However, due to the sensitivities of the issues at hand, we do not feel that the TKS is the appropriate outlet for us to share all of our thoughts. In hopes of having more genuine and respectful conversations, we will be hosting an event called Interact with Intervarsity within the first several weeks of Spring term. There will be more information about this event coming soon. We are eager for the opportunity to hear your questions and thoughts. We also hope to share our personal perspectives in an effort to deepen our understandings of each other’s experiences, hopes, and concerns. By doing this, we can strengthen relationships within the student body through healthy discussion.
Ultimately, Jesus calls us to love one another, so that is what we aim to do. We hope others will join us in spreading love across campus, especially when dealing with sensitive topics, in order to build a stronger community. These intersections of identities are complex and messy, and we don’t claim to have all the answers. But we think conversations, rather than accusations, are a step in the right direction toward fulfilling our college’s goal of having a culture of respect.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns about IVCF and our role on campus, please reach out at any time to any of us or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maddie Schacht, Jessica Hickey, Harper Colclasure, Irein Thomas
Link to Knox’s Culture of Respect Page:
Click here to learn more about Intervarsity: