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


Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

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 religious organizations from governing themselves according to religious principles.

When President Viets did not respond to FIRE's concerns, FIRE took the case public.  Five days afterwards, the SGA voted to grant full recognition to all student organizations that were given "temporary status." RJCF, along with the Muslim Students Association and the Cigar and Pipe Social Club, became "full-fledged organizations with no funding restrictions or any other probationary restrictions."