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On Sunday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's a cappella group Psalm 100 unanimously voted to remove Will Thomason, a gay senior who has been a part of the group since his freshman year, ostensibly for his views on homosexuality, reports The Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper.
Psalm 100 is a student organization that is recognized by the university and must follow the school's nondiscrimination policy. The university will be investigating whether Psalm 100 violated the policy, according to Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.
The policy says university-sanctioned groups may limit membership to those who share the group's beliefs but cannot prohibit members for individual characteristics, including sexual orientation.
"Our commitment to nondiscrimination is bedrock strong but so is our commitment to the First Amendment rights of freedom of association," Crisp told the paper. "The nondiscrimination policy for student organizations tries very hard to balance those issues."
Blake Templeton, general director of the group, said Thomason was removed for his opinions about homosexuality, not for his sexual orientation -- his views clashed with the Bible, hence the ideas of the group.
Zealan Hoover, student body vice president, has asked the student solictor general to prepare a legal brief, as well as the student body treasurer to prepare a list of the funds allocated to the group. If the organization does not abide by university policies, it will no longer be recognized by the school. Jon Curtis, associate director of student activities and organizations, said he has yet to receive a formal complaint against Psalm 100.
Crisp added, "We're going to take the time that is necessary to thoroughly investigate the issues before we draw any conclusion."
Thomason said he remains friends with members of the group. "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," he said.
UNC Christian Singing Group Expels Gay Senior for "Views on Homosexuality"" >