Pace University: Christian Student Organization Denied Recognition


Pace University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

After months of pressure from FIRE, Pace Law School approved the constitution of the Christian Law Students Association (CLSA), allowing the group to pursue its religious mission. CLSA leader Cari Rincker tried to form a chapter of the national Christian Legal Society (CLS), calling her group the Pace Christian Legal Society (PCLS). In accordance with national CLS rules, she drafted a constitution that limited membership to students who were willing to sign and live by a statement of faith. After receiving hostility around campus, Rincker changed the constitution taking out the required statement of faith and adding, "Those that disagree with any or all of the aforementioned beliefs are still welcome to be members." With a new group name, Christian Law Students Association, Rincker applied for recognition. Despite Pace's clear promise to grant students freedom of association, the Student Bar Association rejected the group's application for recognition. FIRE wrote to then-Law School Dean Stephen J. Friedman and eventually the group was granted recognition.