Brown University: Wrongful Suspension of Religious Student Group

Category: Religious Liberty
Schools: Brown University

Brown University inexplicably suspended one of its largest religious student organizations, with shifting and unclear reasons for its decision. Brown ignored requests from Trinity Presbyterian Church’s campus fellowship for an explanation of its suspension and the student group finally sought help from FIRE. Brown University finally lifted its semester-long suspension of the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) student group after months of public pressure from FIRE.

  • The case of Brown University: A culture of ‘contempt and dishonesty’

    November 27, 2006

    by Richard A. Zeller The Providence Journal   The assertion that a group of people constitute a “culture of contempt and dishonesty” is a serious assertion. Such an assertion, whether true or false, drives a stake into the heart of the concept of community. For a community is a culture of respect and honesty. To maintain a community culture of respect and honesty, contempt and dishonesty need to be expelled. The problem, of course, is determining whether the assertion that members of a group of people constitute a “culture of contempt and dishonesty.” In totalitarian states, anyone who takes issue […]

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  • Christian conservatives at odds with liberal R.I. university

    November 23, 2006

    Leaders of a conservative Christian student fellowship suspended from using campus resources at Brown University are wondering whether they were singled out for their beliefs. They’re pressing school officials to explain the punishment. Brown University has not publicly explained why it suspended the Reformed University Fellowship, which is allied with the conservative Presbyterian Church in America. A Brown spokesman says the group failed to follow university guidelines — but he didn’t say which ones. In an e-mail sent to students, one Brown chaplain complained the group’s leaders were contemptuous, dishonest and generally wasted administrators’ time, patience and energy. The fellowship […]

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  • Brown bans evangelical organization of students

    November 20, 2006

    An evangelical student group that has been banned from advertising or meeting on the Brown University campus has enlisted the help of a national organization that defends the free-speech rights of students on college campuses. The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced last week that it is supporting the 100-member Reformed University Fellowship, which was notified in a Sept. 13 e-mail from the university’s chaplain, the Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, that its status as a recognized student organization had been withdrawn. Leaders of the group say they were given different reasons for the action. At first, they were […]

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  • Reasons for Christian group’s suspension unclear, leader says

    November 20, 2006

    by Mary-Catherine Lader The Brown Daily Herald   The University suspended the Christian student group Reformed University Fellowship earlier this semester, though the group’s president said the reasons for suspension remain unclear and have not been communicated adequately to him.The group, which is led by Ethan Wingfield ‘07, is one of 110 RUF chapters across the country and, Wingfield believes, the first to be suspended or “kicked off campus” by a university. RUF’s parent organization, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, encourages its members to “uniquely engage (their) community in the gospel” and “grow as ambassadors of God’s grace,” […]

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  • Christians kicked off campus at Brown University

    November 18, 2006

    A civil rights organization has joined forces with a Christian student group at Brown University in an attempt to find out why the school has banned the Christians from meeting on its campus. “A university that respects its students cannot capriciously suspend student groups,” said Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “Suspension of any student group is a serious matter and should be accompanied by a serious explanation. Yet Brown has consistently skirted questions about the suspension, calling into question both the university’s motives and the legitimacy of the punishment.” FIRE said the members […]

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  • Victory for Religious Liberty at Brown University: RUF Reinstated

    February 1, 2007

    PROVIDENCE, R.I., February 1, 2007—Brown University has finally lifted its semester-long suspension of the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) student group. As of last week, the RUF has been restored to its previous status as a recognized student group and held its first on-campus meeting of the school year on Sunday. Brown’s decision to reinstate the group came after months of public pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “We are pleased that Brown is letting RUF return to campus this semester,” FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley said. “Brown has still neither explained its actions nor acknowledged that […]

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  • Brown University Takes Step Toward Lifting Suspension, But Problems Remain

    November 21, 2006

    Since FIRE’s press release last week on Brown’s suspension of the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the Christian Union wrote an excellent letter to Brown, The Providence Journal reported on the suspension, FIRE staff members have spoken about the case on numerous talk radio programs, and FIRE’s President Greg Lukianoff appeared on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss Brown’s actions. Yesterday, Janet Cooper Nelson, the Director of Brown’s Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life (OCRL), sent a letter to RUF President Ethan Wingfield outlining how the group could apply for re-affiliation for the spring semester.   While this letter is a […]

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  • Our universities threaten our religion, our culture, and our national security (exhibit A: Brown)

    November 20, 2006

    Last month, Brown University suspended its largest evangelical organization, with over a hundred students the student group was one of the largest on campus. Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson, Director of Brown’s Office of Chaplains and Religious Life, justified the suspension as the result of the organization’s sponsoring church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, withdrawing its support for the organization. Within minutes of receiving the e-mail that Trinity had withdrawn its support David Sherwood, Trinity Senior Pastor, wrote to Brown’s Office of Chaplains and Religious Life to assert that Trinity had not withdrawn its support for the evangelical organization and was actually very […]

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  • Brown Suspends Religious Student Group Without Explanation

    November 16, 2006

    PROVIDENCE, R.I., November 16, 2006—Brown University has inexplicably suspended one of its largest religious student organizations. After offering shifting and unclear reasons for its decision, Brown ignored requests from Trinity Presbyterian Church’s campus fellowship for an explanation of its suspension. The student group finally sought help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has asked Brown to either explain or revoke its suspension. “A university that respects its students cannot capriciously suspend student groups,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Suspension of any student group is a serious matter and should be accompanied by a serious explanation. Yet […]

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