E-mails from CSUSB President Albert Karnig to a FIRE Supporter

By January 5, 2006

Here is the text of two e-mail responses from California State University-San Bernardino President Albert Karnig to a FIRE supporter.  The e-mail addresses and names of all parties except President Karnig have been redacted.

From : “ALBERT K. KARNIG”
Date: 12/26/2005 01:40 PM
To: [Redacted]
Cc: [Redacted]
Mr. [Redacted]:

With respect to questions you raised about not awarding a university charter to the proposed “Christian Student Association, the following information may be useful:

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations states, “No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group honor society, or other student organization which discriminates on the basis of race, religion, natural origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or disability.”  It also requires that Student organizations provide a statement signed by the group’s president or  similar officer “attesting that the organization has no rules or policies which discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability*.”

The Code further states that student organizations cannot receive state funding or resources if they deny access to individuals in any of these protected classes (California Code of Regulations Title 5, Division 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 4, Article 4 * Non discrimination in Student Organizations). The code is similar to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that prohibits discrimination against these protected classes in the context of employment, housing and other areas.

Specifically, CSUSB could not approve the Christian Student Association charter because its proposed constitution included a discriminatory statement that prohibited certain people from joining its club. Therefore, the constitution failed to comply with Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, and university approval would have been in direct violation of that Code.

Moreover, it should be understood that the group continues to have every right of freedom of association even if it is not in compliance with Title 5; however, as a consequence of non-compliance with the regulation, it cannot receive the official sanction of the university or the support of state resources.

The California Code of Regulations has been formally adopted by state agencies, reviewed and approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and filed with the Secretary of State. The CCR consists of 28 titles and contains the regulations of approximately 200 regulatory agencies.

(By the way, you and your colleagues may wish to read the local newspaper’s editorial that dealt with the decision that you apparently found so appalling.)

Sincerely,

Albert K. Karnig
President

University rightly rejects club that discriminates

San Bernadino County Sun

University rightly rejects club that discriminates

Our view: Ryan Sorba is at it again with group that aims to exclude based on religious or sexual orientation.

Ah, another group catering to the born-again Christian, anti-homosexual agenda. Ryan Sorba, a senior pscyhology major at Cal State San Bernardino, has been rallying support for his Christian Student Association in an attempt to have the student group officially recognized, and thus eligible for money from student fees.

But the university’s not going for it – nor should it.

Cal State has refused to accept the club’s charter which prohibits non-Christians and homosexuals from becoming members – citing Title V of the California Code of Regulations. State law forbids discrimination based on religious affiliation or sexual orientation.

The school’s legally supported stance has incensed Sorba, who occupies his free time compiling a “watch list” of liberal professors and organizing affirmative-action bake sales as president of another student group, the College Republicans.

The club asked Sorba to abdicate the presidency after he used the club’s name on anti-gay signs and to promote the boycott of a class on gender perspectives, but Sorba refused.

Now, he’s frying up a new kettle of fish with his anti-non-Christian, anti-gay club.

“This is about whether or not the First Amendment is allowed to exist at Cal State San Bernardino, and whether or not Christians are allowed to exist,” Sorba said.

Nonsense.

While Sorba accuses university officials of discriminating against Christians by withholding funding from the club, school officials point out that it’s Sorba who is being intolerant. Various organizations may hold a variety of disparate views, but that cxdoes not mean they should qualify for public funding.

Students like Sorba could use a lesson in acceptance and humility. But it’s at least encouraging that education officials aren’t buying into his bigoted philosophy.

———-
From: Albert K. Karnig [mailto:akarnig@csusb.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 4:57 PM
To: [Redacted]
Cc: [Redacted]

Mr. [Redacted]:

I’m not a constitutional expert, but I believe there are constitutional freedoms of association.  For example, any individual may choose not to form friendships with Caucasians, heterosexuals or lesbians; a Church may exclude non-believers; and an ethnic organization may exclude non-co-ethnics.  Conversely, an organization that excludes members of protected classes may not, in turn, receive public funding.  I believe an institution such as Bob Jones University constitutes a useful illustration in which an institution is clearly within its rights to be exclusionary, but, when it excludes protected classes, is not permitted to receive public funding.

With respect to the case in question here at Cal State, San Bernardino, I thought the words were clear that according to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, “No campus shall recognize any student organization which discriminates on the basis of race, religion, natural origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or disability.” Moreover, as I noted, the Code requires that student organizations provide a statement “attesting that the organization has no rules or policies which discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.”

Further, the Code states that a student organization may not receive state funding or resources if it denies access to individuals in any of these protected classes (California Code of Regulations Title 5, Division 5, Chapter 1, Subchapter 4, Article 4 * Non discrimination in Student Organizations).

As a consequence, CSUSB could not approve the Christian Student Association charter because its proposed constitution included a discriminatory statement that prohibited certain people from joining its club.  Approval would have been directly in violation of the Code.  Your question was whether Cal State, San Bernardino had any discretion in the matter.  The simple answer is, “No, it had no discretion.”

Sincerely,

Albert K. Karnig
President

Schools: California State University – San Bernardino Cases: California State University at San Bernardino: Refusal to Recognize Christian Group