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


Purdue University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

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 be no exceptions. After FIRE intervened on the students' behalf and sent a letter to Purdue University President Martin Jischke reminding him of the group's rights to freedom of expression and religion. President Jischke responded quickly and the Stewart Cooperative was guaranteed the right to base membership on religious affiliation.