Princeton Faith and Action, a student organization at Princeton University, was given recognition after being arbitrarily denied such. PFA is associated with the Christian Union, an off-campus ministry serving Ivy League universities whose own request to apply to have a full-time chaplain on campus was rejected by Dean of Religious Life Thomas Breidenthal. After being blocked from reserving spaces on campus through an existing recognized Christian student group, students organized PFA in order to hold activities independently. When they approached the student government to apply for official recognition, however, student government officials explained that because their group was religious in nature, they were required first to obtain Dean Breidenthal’s approval-even though secular groups face no such hurdle. Then, at a meeting to discuss the possibility of recognition, Dean Breidenthal denied PFA the opportunity to apply for recognition because he did not want to recognize a group that associated with the Christian Union. When the students expressed concerns that the approval process seemed discriminatory, the dean explained that this was “the way things are done” at Princeton. FIRE wrote to the school, reminding it of its stated commitments to freedom of religion and association, and soon PFA was given recognition, and Princeton pledged to re-examine their policy, which unfairly singles out religious student organizations for additional and exceptional scrutiny.
June 22, 2006
There may be an end in sight to the long reign of one-sided intellectual discourse on the nation’s colleges and universities. New, on-campus movements by students as well as interest from state and federal lawmakers are beginning to make headway in guaranteeing intellectual freedom for all students. According to Sara Dothan, campus director for Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), students at more than 150 campuses across the country have started SAF chapters to fight for the passage of an academic bill of rights. The organization is growing rapidly and having an impact on campuses, Dothan said. “One of the biggest […]» Read More
May 11, 2005
PRINCETON, N.J. — After being initially rebuffed by a Princeton University official, a group of evangelical Christian students who wanted access to facilities and the chance to apply for funds has won a victory. After the university’s dean of religious life refused recognition for Princeton Faith and Action, the group appealed to a campus rights group that successfully lobbied the university to change its procedures. “We found Princeton’s quick and fair response very encouraging. We’ve found other colleges who haven’t been particularly fair to religious groups, sometimes in an unconstitutional way,” said Greg Lukianoff, an official with the Philadelphia-based Foundation […]» Read More