• University of North Carolina System: State of the First Amendment

    January 10, 2006
    Category: Free Speech, Freedom of Conscience, Religious Liberty

    FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

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  • California State University at San Bernardino: Refusal to Recognize Christian Group

    December 20, 2005
    Category: Religious Liberty

    California State University at San Bernardino (CSUSB) has refused to recognize a Christian student organization for requiring its members to live according to the group’s religious faith. The Christian Student Association at CSUSB contacted FIRE for help after the university said that the group’s statements on faith and sexual morality were “not permissible.”

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  • University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Ban on RAs’ Leading Bible Studies

    October 10, 2005
    Category: Religious Liberty

    The University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Board of Regents voted to uphold religious liberty on campus under its jurisdiction by permitting resident assistants (RAs) to hold Bible study groups in their dormitory rooms. Six months before FIRE advocated on the RAs’ behalf, a residential life official from UW Eau-Claire sent Christian RAs a letter notifying them that residential life officials were not permitted to host Bible, Torah, or Koran study sessions in their dorm rooms because their religious beliefs may make them less “approachable” to students who did not hold the same views. FIRE first wrote to Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord […]

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  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives Select Committee on Student Academic Freedom

    September 19, 2005
    Category: Free Speech, Freedom of Conscience, Religious Liberty

    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives brought together a committee to examine allegations that Pennsylvania’s public universities were plagued by liberal ideology and indoctrination. David A. French, at the time president of FIRE, served as a legal adviser to the panel. FIRE released FIRE Report on the First Amendment Responsibilities of Pennsylvania State-Funded Colleges and Universities, explaining that Pennsylvania universities are bound to follow the strictures of the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, notably to respect the expressive rights of students and faculty members, to protect religious liberty on campus, and to protect freedom of conscience on campus.

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  • Southern Illinois University at Carbondale: Derecognition of Christian Law School Group

    September 13, 2005
    Category: Religious Liberty

    Southern Illinois University’s College of Law became a subject of controversy and lawsuit after it derecognized the Christian Legal Society because CLS refused to allow anyone in its leadership who openly engaged in fornication or homosexuality, which SIU claimed violated its anti-discrimination policies. After a discouraging denial of its motion for preliminary injunction at trial, the Christian Legal Society appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, where a three judge panel reversed the trial court, ordering SIU to recognize the Christian Legal Society. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Walker, was not only a commendable […]

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  • Princeton University: Refusal to Recognize Religious Group

    April 19, 2005
    Category: Due Process, Religious Liberty

    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 […]

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  • Milwaukee School of Engineering: Threat to Christian Group’s Freedom of Association

    March 23, 2005
    Category: Religious Liberty

    ReJOYce in Jesus Campus Fellowship (RJCF) ran into trouble when it submitted its original bylaws to apply for re-recognition after a year of inactivity. MSOE’s Student Government Association (SGA) sent the group a letter informing them they wouldn’t recognize the group because it believed RJCF’s “Standards of Personal Conduct” discriminated on the basis of “sexual preference.” After the SGA’s decision, RJCF contacted FIRE for assistance. FIRE’s letter to MSOE President Hermann Viets explained that the SGA’s actions had violated the school’s stated policies supporting religious liberty and freedom of association, and reminded him that no state or federal law prevents […]

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  • Indian River Community College: Ban on ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and Repression of Free Speech

    December 16, 2004
    Category: Religious Liberty

    Indian River Community College prohibited the Christian Student Fellowship, a campus student group, from hosting a screening of The Passion of the Christ. The group contacted FIRE, which lobbied the administration and launched a media campaign exposing the school’s policies. Thereafter, the school denounced it actions, admitting to employing double-standards in its policies. The student group was allowed to show the movie thanks to FIRE’s successful involvement.

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  • University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Unconstitutional Student Fee Funding Amendment

    December 16, 2004
    Category: Freedom of Conscience, Religious Liberty

    FIRE protested the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s (UWEC) Student Senate’s decision to withhold student fee funding from any student organization that espouses a “particular ideological, religious, or partisan viewpoint.” The rule, passed in March of 2005, came after a controversy regarding the approval of a new student magazine, The Flip Side, in December of 2004. A student senator was quoted in UWEC’s The Spectator as saying “We want to exclude any groups that would be religious in nature, political in nature or anything that would have a political agenda [from being funded through student segregated fees].” FIRE wrote Interim Chancellor […]

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  • Louisiana State University: Threat to Muslim Group’s Freedom of Association

    November 11, 2004
    Category: Religious Liberty

    The Muslim Student Association of Louisiana State University (LSU) ran into trouble in the fall of 2003 when it was informed that a new policy required all groups to explicitly state that they would not deny membership on the basis of a list of criteria including “religion” and “sexual orientation.” The MSA decided that it could not include language in its constitution that was inconsistent with its desired expressive purpose; as a result, it was denied recognition by the administration. The group lost all privileges to reserve and use on-campus facilities, distribute literature, and other benefits granted to student groups. […]

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