April 6, 2007
Dean Stephen J. Friedman
Office of the Dean
Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
White Plains, New York 10603
Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (914-422-4426)
Dear Dean Friedman:
As you know, FIRE first wrote to you on January 11, 2007 (letter enclosed), regarding the Student Bar Association’s (SBA’s) denial of recognition to the Christian Law Students Association (CLSA). While FIRE was heartened by your January 29 memo reversing the SBA’s denial and by your subsequent decision to recognize the CLSA, we are disappointed that almost three months have passed since we first contacted you, and University Counsel has not yet delivered its final revisions to the CLSA constitution.
In her e-mail on February 26, Dean for Students Angela D’Agostino wrote, “[w]hile Dean Friedman is awaiting information from Legal Counsel’s office regarding some minor changes to the language in your constitution and subject to those changes being made, you are welcome to schedule and host events in accordance to all rules and regulations set forth by the University.”
CLSA President Cari Rincker reports that both the SBA and Pace’s legal counsel have expressed apprehension that the constitution too explicitly states the group’s Christian nature and does not adequately welcome non-Christian students. Both FIRE and the CLSA are therefore concerned that any official alterations to the constitution might include significant changes to the religious character of the organization and infringe upon the group’s expressive purpose.
In order to complete the recognition process that you have already initiated, the University Counsel must make public its final revisions to the CLSA constitution. If the legal counsel has no revisions, and the constitution is acceptable as it stands, then that decision should also be made public.
The CLSA has for the last month been meeting without the guidance of a definite constitution; until legal counsel’s revisions are released, the CLSA
cannot be said to be a fully functioning organization.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and request a response by April 19, 2007.
David A. Caputo, President, Pace University
Stephen Brodsky, University Counsel, Pace University
Angela M. D’Agostino, Dean for Students, Pace Law School
Jeffrey G. Miller, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Pace Law School
Encl.Download file "FIRE Letter to Pace Law School Dean Stephen Friedman, April 6, 2007"