Tufts University: Refusal to Allow Evangelical Christian Club to Require Leaders to Share Group’s Beliefs

Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty
Schools: Tufts University

Tufts University’s Committee on Student Life voted to remand the charges against the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF). Without a hearing, in a capricious late-night meeting on April 13, 2000, the Student Judiciary voted officially to “derecognize” TCF, the equivalent of a banishment from the facilities of the Tufts campus. The Tufts evangelicals were punished for taking into account, for purposes of selecting leaders, the beliefs of a member whose views of Scripture and homosexuality were opposed to their own. TCF received pro-bono legal representation from FIRE President David French and a campaign from FIRE that involved writing and petitioning the Tufts administration, which ultimately culminated in national media attention on the charges against TCF. Curtis Chang, affiliate chaplain at Tufts and campus minister for the TCF, was joyful when FIRE contacted him with the news of the committee’s decision. Chang had spent four weeks working passionately to get the facts out to the world and to restore religious liberty at Tufts. Chang hopes embattled evangelical groups around the country will take heart from the victory at Tufts and stand up for religious freedom.