Christian Group Still Waiting for Word from Pace

March 12, 2007

Two weeks ago we reported that Pace Law School finally recognized the Christian Law Students Association (CLSA). The Student Bar Association (SBA) at Pace initially denied the CLSA recognition, deciding that the Christian nature of the group would be unwelcoming to non-Christian students. After FIRE convinced Law School Dean Stephen Friedman to step in to correct the SBA’s wrongs, Friedman handed the matter over to Pace’s legal counsel. But a meeting between the legal counsel and the CLSA’s student president, Cari Rincker, revealed that the university was still worried about the Christian nature of the organization: Pace’s lawyers were concerned about what the CLSA intended by stating in its constitution that officers should be “spiritual and professional” leaders, and questioned Rincker about whether meetings would include prayer.
When Pace recognized the CLSA on February 26, Dean Angela D’Agostino stated that the lawyers were still looking into the CLSA’s constitution, to decide if any changes were necessary. Two weeks have gone by and although the CLSA is functioning as a recognized student group—it’s had its first meeting and has received a budget from the university—student officers and members are operating without a constitution. No one knows, for example, whether Pace legal counsel’s revisions to the constitution include a significant de-Christianization of the CLSA. In recognizing the CLSA, Pace has taken the first step toward granting students the right to associate as they see fit. Until legal counsel comes forward with the revised constitution, however, it’s a task only half-accomplished.

Schools:  Pace University