• The Ohio State University: Refusal to Allow Religious Clubs to Decide Membership Based on Religious Belief

    October 20, 2004
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    A coalition of religious groups, including the Muslim Student Association, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Christian Graduate Student Alliance, Campus Crusade for Christ, Mosaic, Reformed Christian Students, the Christian Medical Dental Association, Student Christian Fellowship, and International Friendships, used religious criteria for decisions regarding group leadership, group message, and, sometimes, group membership at the Ohio State University. Ohio State’s official recognition policy had stated that in order for groups to receive full recognition from the university, they could not "discriminate" on the basis of religion. FIRE wrote to Ohio State President Karen A. Holbrook, pointing out that as a public institution, […]

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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Denial of Freedom of Association for Christian Fraternity

    July 23, 2004
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a Christian fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega (AIO), was stripped of its recognition after UNC administrator Jonathan Curtis declared that the fraternity was required to add an unconstitutional “nondiscrimination” clause to its student group constitution. AIO objected to the “nondiscrimination” clause because it would have forbidden the group from considering religion when determining “membership and participation” in the group. FIRE wrote to the university on AIO’s behalf outlining the group’s rights to freedom of association and religious liberty but the university was unmoved. FIRE teamed up with the Alliance Defense Fund and […]

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  • Lakeland Community College: Disciplining of Professor for Religious Speech

    December 5, 2003
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    Lakeland Community College removed a professor of moral philosophy from his classes as punishment for refusing to hide his religious identity from students. The college threatened Dr. James Tuttle, who espouses traditional Catholic beliefs, with dismissal because he made statements on his syllabi and in class that disclosed his religious faith and how that shaped his personal philosophy. He is suing the school in response to its unconstitutional actions. Dr. Tuttle is represented by Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, with the public campaign to defend Dr. Tuttle’s rights coordinated by FIRE, which first brought Dr. Tuttle’s case to national attention.

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  • Gonzaga University: Refusal to Recognize Christian Pro-Life Club

    November 24, 2003
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    Two Christian student groups, The Christian Legal Society and The Christian Pro-Life Caucus, failed to gain recognition from Gonzaga Law School’s Student Bar Association (SBA). The Christian Pro-Life Law Caucus was rejected as an official student group last fall, when SBA president Albert Guadagno declared that the Christian group’s requirement that its leadership be Christian was “discriminatory.” Gonzaga University’s president, Father Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., failed to intervene on behalf of either group despite Gonzaga Law’s promise to be a “welcoming environment for students of all religious backgrounds or secular moral traditions.”

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  • Purdue University: Refusal to Allow Christian Women’s Group to Require Christian Membership

    November 4, 2003
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    Purdue University nearly evicted a Christian women’s housing group on campus for refusing to abide by a “nondiscrimination” statement that required student groups not discriminate on the basis of a long list of characteristics, including religious belief, when selecting members. Any groups failing to abide by this policy could face the loss of rights and privileges on campus. As a Christian women’s group, the Stewart Cooperative could not agree to ignore matters of faith when choosing its members. When the group asked Purdue administrators whether their organization could be excused from these requirements, the students were told that there could […]

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  • Rutgers University: Refusal to Allow Christian Clubs to Require Christian Leadership

    December 27, 2002
    Category: Freedom of Conscience, Religious Liberty

    The InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship at Rutgers University was banned from campus because of its rule that "leaders must seek to adhere to biblical standards and belief in all areas of their lives." Rutgers ruled that allowing a religious student group to select its leadership on the basis of religion constituted discrimination. FIRE wrote to the president of Rutgers, to the members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and to the university’s major donors, urging the administration to undo the damage to the Fellowship. FIRE Legal Network attorney David A. French also filed a lawsuit against Rutgers […]

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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Refusal to Allow Christian Clubs to Require Christian Leadership

    December 27, 2002
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    An administrator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill threatened the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) with a loss of all privileges and funding because it required its leaders to adhere to the IVCF’s Christian doctrine. After FIRE reminded UNC of the student organization’s rights of religious liberty, free expression, and free association, however, Chancellor James Moeser ordered "that IVCF be allowed to continue to operate as an official recognized student organization."

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  • Pennsylvania State University: Charges of ‘Discrimination’ Due to Religious Language in Club Constitution

    March 12, 2001
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    A student group at Penn State University (PSU) won a momentous victory when the University reversed a ruling of the student government that had stripped the group’s constitution and mission statement of words found to be “discriminatory.” The trouble started when the undergraduate Student Government Supreme Court informed PSU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) that the words of its constitution and mission statement, identifying rights as “God- given,” constituted religious “discrimination,” because the words reflected a “devotion to god.” Later that year, the same Supreme Court upheld its decision and “struck” the offending statements from the YAF constitution. […]

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  • Ball State University: Threat to Religous Group’s Freedom of Association

    June 29, 2000
    Category: Cases, Religious Liberty

    In May 2000, religious freedom was under assault at Ball State University when administrators sought to stifle unpopular views and sincere religious convictions. The Christian Student Foundation was required by the school to adopt language in its constitution that would violate its fundamental Biblical principles. The student group requested an exemption, but Ball State ignored the issue for more than a year until FIRE intervened in May 2000. FIRE joined forces with the Christian Legal Society (CLS) to protect the constitutional rights to religious freedom and voluntary association of the Christian Student Foundation.

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

    May 16, 2000
    Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty

    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 […]

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