University of Notre Dame: Student Group Supporting Traditional Marriage Policy Denied Recognition

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Notre Dame

On April 30, 2014, the prospective organization Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), a student group advocating for traditional marriage, was denied recognition at the recommendation of Notre Dame’s student-led Club Coordination Council (CCC), on the grounds that SCOP’s mission “closely mirrored” that of other groups on campus. FIRE wrote to Notre Dame on May 23, calling into serious question this claim, showing SCOP’s mission to be demonstrably different from those of the groups as comparable to SCOP, one of which appeared to have been inactive for several years. Noting that several hundred Notre Dame students opposed to SCOP’s mission had petitioned against its recognition, FIRE made clear that using the claim that SCOP “closely mirrored” other organizations as a pretext to deny recognition to SCOP on the basis of its viewpoint violated the group’s rights and betrayed Notre Dame’s promises of free expression for student organizations.

  • Notre Dame To Student Group: Who Needs You?

    May 26, 2014

    By Robert Shibley at The Daily Caller In January, students at the University of Notre Dame formed a new organization called Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP). On its Facebook page, SCOP identifies itself as “a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Notre Dame who are focused on the debate about marriage taking place in Indiana.” On April 30, Notre Dame officially denied SCOP recognition as a campus club. Why? If you believe Notre Dame, it’s because the college felt the club was unnecessary. Notre Dame told SCOP that the group’s mission was too similar to those of two existing clubs, the Orestes Brownson Council and […]

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  • FIRE Has Seen Notre Dame’s Redundancy Argument Before

    June 24, 2014

    In May, FIRE wrote to the University of Notre Dame in defense of Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP). SCOP, a student group that generated controversy on campus because of its opposition to same-sex marriage, was denied official recognition by Notre Dame’s student-led Club Coordination Council (CCC) in April. The CCC claimed that SCOP “closely mirrors” the existing student groups Orestes Brownson Council (OBC) and Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and is therefore redundant.

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  • Notre Dame Defends Rejection of ‘Redundant’ Student Group Amid Controversy

    June 19, 2014

    NOTRE DAME, Ind., June 19, 2014—The University of Notre Dame is standing by its decision to reject the prospective student organization Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), claiming the group would be “redundant” in light of other existing groups on campus. Notre Dame rejected the group following student opposition to SCOP due to its stance against same-sex marriage. FIRE has intervened on SCOP’s behalf. FIRE sent Notre Dame a letter on May 23 calling on the university to reverse its decision. Notre Dame responded on June 6 with a defense of SCOP’s rejection, citing the same questionable “redundancy” rationale. “It is […]

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  • Notre Dame Offers Weak Excuse for Denying Controversial Student Group Recognition

    May 28, 2014

    The University of Notre Dame is refusing to officially recognize the student group Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), which advocates for what it calls “child-oriented” policies—most notably, “traditional marriage”—in the state of Indiana. Notre Dame’s mission statement says that the university’s goals include providing a forum for “free inquiry and open discussion,” and that “the University insists upon academic freedom which makes open discussion and inquiry possible.”

    So what interest trumped this broad promise to its students? According to Notre Dame, SCOP too “closely mirrored” other student groups on campus.

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