University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Ban on RAs’ Leading Bible Studies

Category: Religious Liberty
Schools: University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire University of Wisconsin – Madison

The University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Board of Regents voted to uphold religious liberty on campus under its jurisdiction by permitting resident assistants (RAs) to hold Bible study groups in their dormitory rooms. Six months before FIRE advocated on the RAs’ behalf, a residential life official from UW Eau-Claire sent Christian RAs a letter notifying them that residential life officials were not permitted to host Bible, Torah, or Koran study sessions in their dorm rooms because their religious beliefs may make them less “approachable” to students who did not hold the same views. FIRE first wrote to Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson stating that the ban was unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. FIRE then took the case public, wrote additional letters to the UW System President and the Wisconsin Attorney General, and connected an RA with the Alliance Defense Fund who filed suit. After six months of pressure, the UW Board of Regents reversed the policy.