Hampton University’s denial of recognition to a gay and lesbian student group remains shrouded in mystery, with the administration’s behavior growing increasingly bizarre. On the one hand, Hampton’s Director of University Relations issued the following statement about student organizations:
Hampton University has a moratorium on all new student organizations except when there is a vacancy. A vacancy may occur if an organization becomes inactive. Currently there are 90 chartered student organizations. When there is a vacancy, the Student Affairs Council, made up of student affairs staff, faculty and students, evaluates the applications of new organizations on a first come first serve basis determined by the date of the application. No one organization will receive preferential treatment. For the 2006-2007 academic year, there were 4 vacancies. During the last two years a total of 44 organizations applied for charters and 11 were granted.
On the other hand, a member of the Student Affairs Council posted a comment on Inside Higher Ed stating that the Hampton administration “will not allow us to comment as to which [student groups] were given that official status.”
Here’s my question: If student groups are really selected on a viewpoint-neutral, “first come first serve basis,” why all the smoke and mirrors from the administration? Why not just release publicly the names and application forms of the groups that were accepted and rejected, to show that recognition was simply based on application date or other viewpoint-neutral criteria?