Wright State University: Christian Group Banned from Campus

Category: Religious Liberty
Schools: Wright State University

Wright State University has agreed to grant recognition to the Campus Bible Fellowship (CBF) for the 2009-2010 academic year, reversing its previous decision to rescind the CBF’s official club recognition because of its requirement that voting members “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior,” among other faith-based requirements written into the club’s constitution. Despite the CBF’s thirty-year presence on Wright State’s campus, the university removed the club’s official recognition for its failure to include required “non-discrimination” language in its constitution. After FIRE wrote Wright State President David R. Hopkins, reminding him that this policy violated the CBF’s constitutional rights to both free exercise of religion and freedom of association, Wright State initially indicated that while the CBF would be granted recognition for the remainder of the 2008-2009 academic year, it would have to amend its constitution for recognition in 2009-2010. However, after the Alliance Defense Fund wrote an additional letter to Wright State, Director of Student Activities Rick Danals agreed to grant an exemption to the CBF. The CBF received official recognition soon after.

  • Wright State resolves student religious group issue

    June 23, 2009

    A Christian student organization that claimed it was banned by Wright State University for the 2008-2009 academic year has received recognition for the coming school year, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “Wright State advocates for diversity and we have resolved the registration matter with the Campus Bible Fellowship student organization so that they can practice the full expression of their religious beliefs on campus,” said Dan Abrahamowicz, university vice president for student affairs, on Monday, June 22. Wright State in January withdrew recognition for the Campus Bible Fellowship “after the group refused to eliminate faith-based […]

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  • Unequal freedoms on large campuses

    March 10, 2009

    Here’s another case of intolerance on the part of a university – supposedly a place where free expression and divergent opinions are welcome. Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, has banned the Campus Bible Fellowship from meeting on campus because of its requirement that voting members be Christian and its refusal to accept “nondiscrimination” language that would eliminate faith-based standards for its voting members. Never mind that students pay a hefty tuition for which they rightfully expect access to campus facilities. And never mind that the families of in-state students have paid lots of taxes to build and maintain those […]

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  • Christian group’s status renewed following stir

    March 7, 2009

    Campus Bible Fellowship (CBF) on Wright State University’s campus recently received renewed recognition as a registered student organization following an apparent conflict with university officials during the annual renewal process. According to a press release issued earlier this month by national advocacy group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Wright State University banned CBF from meeting on campus because of the group’s requirement that voting members be Christian and its refusal to accept the university’s ‘nondiscrimination’ language that would eliminate faith-based standards for its voting members. In response, the Campus Bible Fellowship turned to FIRE for help, according […]

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  • Banned Christian fellowship allowed to meet on Ohio campus, for now

    March 4, 2009

    A Christian fellowship group that was denied registration from Wright State University in Ohio because of its faith-based policies has now been granted recognition by campus officials – for now that is. Representatives of Campus Bible Fellowship received an e-mail Monday evening from the university’s director of student activities that they would be reinstated for the remainder of the school year. “It told us that that CBF was reinstated – that we could meet and schedule rooms and that all rights and privileges are restored for rest of school year,” Gary Holtz, who oversees the chapter, told The Christian Post. […]

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  • Christian group allowed to return to Ohio campus

    March 3, 2009

    A Christian group that claimed it was banned from the campus of Wright State University in Ohio because of its religious standards has been reinstated. Members of the Campus Bible Fellowship said they were informed late Monday that they would be allowed to resume holding meetings on the Dayton campus. The reinstatement came after repeated media requests to school officials. “We’re good for now, but come May, we’ll be up against the same qualifications they refused us on this time,” said Gary Holtz, 62, a Campus Bible Fellowship organizer. “I believe because of public pressure [school officials] changed their case.” […]

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  • Fellowship banned for requiring voting members be Christians

    March 3, 2009

    A Christian fellowship group that has been on the Wright State University campus for over 30 years was denied registration as a student group this year for its faith-based policies. Representatives of Campus Bible Fellowship, which ministers to students at secular colleges, reported that they were turned down by school officials earlier this year when they tried to re-register the group. The Office of Student Activities at the Ohio-based university named two reasons for the denial, according to CBF representatives. First, CBF refused to adopt university-mandated nondiscrimination language in its membership requirements that would have forced the group to nix […]

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  • Bible club bullied for faith statement

    March 3, 2009

    A university in Ohio has threatened the future of a campus Bible organization for requiring voting members and office holders be Christian. According to Campus Bible Fellowship representative Gary Holtz, his group had been a registered student organization at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, for more than 30 years. Upon seeking re-registration for 2009, however, the university denied the Bible group’s access to facilities, student club fairs, advertising venues and recruiting opportunities – essentially blacklisting the club – because of CBF’s requirement that voting members adhere to a doctrinal statement and “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior.” In […]

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  • University reverses; recognizes Christian student group

    June 25, 2009

    A university in Ohio has reversed its decision concerning a Christian student group. In early 2009, Campus Bible Fellowship was told by Wright State University it was no longer recognized as an official student organization and could no longer meet on campus. According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the decision was made because the club required its officers to subscribe to the club’s faith statement.   “It was essentially like telling a Christian student organization that it couldn’t require Christians to lead the group or be voting members. Kind of similar to telling a college Democrats group that it should have […]

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  • ‘Dayton Daily News’ on FIRE’s Victory at Wright State

    June 23, 2009

    Dave Larsen of the Dayton Daily News discusses FIRE’s victory for religious liberty at Wright State University on the paper’s “On Campus” blog today. Wright State initially denied re-recognition to the Campus Bible Fellowship for 2008-2009 on the ground that its faith-based requirements for voting members violated university nondiscrimination policies, but Wright State finally relented and recognized the group for both 2008–2009 and (after additional struggle) 2009–2010. The News quotes a senior Wright State administrator regarding the resolution of the dispute: “Wright State advocates for diversity and we have resolved the registration matter with the Campus Bible Fellowship student organization […]

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  • Victory for Religious Liberty at Wright State University: Christian Group Regains Recognition

    June 22, 2009

    Today’s press release announces another victory for religious liberty and freedom of conscience on campus. Late last week, we learned that Wright State University was finally granting full recognition to a Christian student group that wanted to limit voting membership to others who shared the group’s deeply held beliefs. The group, Christian Bible Fellowship (CBF), could not in good faith include in its constitution the nondiscrimination language required by Wright State. After all, as a Christian organization, the group was “discriminating” on the basis of religion, and Wright State was refusing to grant a religious exemption to the group. Despite […]

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  • Victory for Religious Liberty at Wright State University

    June 22, 2009

    DAYTON, Ohio, June 22, 2009—After banning a Christian student organization from meeting on campus, Wright State University has reversed course and granted recognition to the Campus Bible Fellowship (CBF) for the 2009–2010 academic year. Despite the group’s 30-year history as a registered student organization, Wright State withdrew recognition from the Campus Bible Fellowship in January after the group refused to eliminate faith-based standards for its voting members. Under pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), religious liberty has been restored on Wright State’s campus. “Since its inception ten years ago, FIRE has reminded public universities that the […]

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  • Greg at Wright State University to Speak on Religious Liberty and Student Group Rights

    May 14, 2009

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff is at Wright State University today, where he is scheduled to speak as part of a conference titled “Legal Issues in Higher Education: When Policy and Religious Freedom Collide.” The event is hosted by the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education in partnership with Wright State. Greg appears at the event alongside various representatives from local universities. The notice for the event states, “In several cases across the nation religious student groups have challenged university regulations relative to recognition of student organizations. Especially at issue are institutional anti-discrimination policies that could affect membership in these organizations.” […]

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  • Rights in the News: FIRE’s Wright State Case Hits Front Pages

    March 7, 2009

    Nationwide reaction to the news of Wright State University‘s unconstitutional denial of recognition to the Campus Bible Fellowship, a Christian student organization, has been swift and furious, as readers who have been following The Torch throughout the week are well aware. Along with continued coverage in The Christian Post and an excellent article in WorldNetDaily, FIRE’s efforts at Wright State were featured as a front page item at FOXNews.com, turning up the heat on an administration already on the wrong side of the law. As Robert noted in a previous Torch entry, the Wright State administration was quick to backtrack […]

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  • Wright State Case is FoxNews.com Featured Story

    March 3, 2009

    FIRE’s case at Wright State is big news today as a featured story, under the heading “We’re Good for Now,” on FoxNews.com! (Here’s the permanent link for when it’s moved off the front page.) Wright State’s behavior in banning the Campus Bible Fellowship has indeed been outrageous, and it’s always good to see the media taking First Amendment rights seriously. Eroding one of those rights—religious liberty—can only lead to the eventual erosion of them all. Let’s hope Wright State gets the message and restores all of CBF’s rights soon.

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  • Wright State Sets Smokescreen in Campus Bible Fellowship Case

    March 3, 2009

    Developments are coming fast in the Wright State University case that FIRE took public yesterday. Mere hours after FIRE sent out its press release on the case, Wright State began sending the following statement to journalists making inquiries: “Campus Bible Fellowship is a recognized student organization at Wright State. We do not discriminate on the basis of religion and we treat Campus Bible Fellowship like any other student group on campus,” said Dan Abrahamowicz, vice president for student affairs at Wright State University. “We are in the process of reviewing the policy for recognizing students groups on campus. If there […]

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  • Wright State University Bans Christian Group from Campus

    March 2, 2009

    Today’s FIRE press release comes out of Dayton, Ohio, where Wright State University has banned a Christian group, the Campus Bible Fellowship, from meeting on campus because of the group’s constitutional requirements for voting members. Here’s an excerpt that explains how this all started: After more than 30 years of existence as a registered student organization at Wright State, the Campus Bible Fellowship (CBF) was prohibited from re-registering in 2009. On January 30, according to CBF representatives Joe Hollaway and Gary Holtz, CBF was informed by Wright State’s Office of Student Activities that its registration was being denied for two […]

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  • Wright State University Bans Christian Group from Campus

    March 2, 2009

    DAYTON, Ohio, March 2, 2009—Wright State University has banned a Christian group from meeting on campus because of its requirement that voting members be Christian and its refusal to accept “nondiscrimination” language that would eliminate faith-based standards for its voting members. In response, the Campus Bible Fellowship has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “A Christian group has the right to be Christian, a Jewish group has the right to be Jewish, and a Muslim group has the right to be Muslim,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Courts have affirmed this principle time and […]

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