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Bible study policy raises ire

November 4, 2005

Every Tuesday last school year, Lance Steiger took a Bible to the basement of his dormitory at UW-Eau Claire and led a small group of friends in a discussion about a particular chapter or verse.

Steiger, a resident assistant and a junior at the time, said he was never told he could not lead a Bible study in the dorm where he worked helping students adjust to college classes and campus life.

But in July, he got a letter from school administrators warning him that if he continued to hold Bible studies in his dorm this year, he would face disciplinary action.

The issue has spawned a flurry of heated exchanges between Steiger, school officials, civil liberties groups, and at least one U.S. representative who on Thursday called the university's position "outrageous and un-American."

"R.A.s are free to engage in these activities as long as they are not doing it in an environment where they have supervisory roles over other students," Rindo said.

In a Sept. 22 e-mail to Steiger, Deborah Newman, associate director of housing and residence life, elaborated on the university's position.

"As a state employee, you and I have a responsibility to make sure we are providing an environment that does not put undue pressure on any member of our halls in terms of religion, political parties, etc.," Newman wrote. "As a 'leader' of a Bible study, one of the roles is to gather and encourage people to attend. These two roles have a strong possibility to conflict in your hall... Download file "Bible study policy raises ire"

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