It was an ordinary day at Sonoma State University on June 27. Audrey Jarvis, 19 years old, arrived at her campus job in freshman orientation. As a devout Catholic, Audrey wore a cross necklace. But within minutes, this ordinary day turned unbelievable. At a student orientation fair, her supervisor directed her to remove the cross necklace.
The supervisor told her that wearing the necklace broke a policy by the chancellor. She was told “she might offend others or it might make incoming students feel unwelcome” according to Fox News. She was caught off guard and walked away so she wouldn’t say anything that she would regret.
Later she was told that she could wear the necklace in the office but not around students. “I was very hurt and felt as if the university’s mission statement – which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all – was violated,” she told Fox News.
In my interview with her, I asked Audrey what led her to hire an attorney and file a religious accommodation request. “My faith calls me to be bold and to stand up for injustice,” she replied. “The Bible says that Christians will be persecuted, and if you deny the Lord, he will deny you.”
Just this spring, Audrey participated in raising awareness of another injustice – local and global sex trafficking. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an interdenominational campus ministry, conducted this outreach in order to share God’s heart for the oppressed with fellow classmates.
She wants other Christian college students to know that “we live in tumultuous times, and sometimes a fire is lit under us. We need to find our passion, live out our faith, and live as an example to lead others to Christ.”
When I asked Audrey what she needs, she asked for “prayer for courage and strength as it is scary to get so much attention and not all of it good.” Through all of this, she hopes that others are encouraged to do the same thing as her and that tolerance is spread to everyone.
Classmate and InterVarsity friend, Paige Drake, confirms that Audrey is a good example to follow: “she is not afraid of being singled out for her faith, and she is sweet and considerate of others no matter how they treat her.”
What began as an ordinary day might turn into an extraordinary summer as Audrey testifies to her faith on the national stage.
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For further Information on InterVarsity, contact Jenny Klouse at firstname.lastname@example.org