NC university system under fire

January 12, 2006

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WILMINGTON — North Carolina’s University system is coming under fire tonight for violating the constitution. A new study says the state system has serious first amendment violations at each state school.

The report’s called [sic] Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, and that’s just what the author is looking to create.

The report was done by conservative group, the Pope Center for Higher Education. The group comes down hardest on the larger state schools but found plenty of fault right here in Wilmington. They say UNCW’s biggest problem is a clause in their rules for student groups on campus. Those rules require groups to have a non-discrimination policy. The report’s author says that policy is unconstitutional because in addition to the usual race and gender protections for potential members UNCW policy includes religion.

This requirement comes from a federal case where a UNC-Chapel Hill Christian fraternity challenged a similar rule at that school and won — a victory that allowed the frat to only admit Christians. As for UNCW, officials there say the only time in recent memory where this issue has come up was from a college republicans group seeking to allow only people with their beliefs into the organization. Harris says the students were right in that matter. Right now UNCW is reviewing the report and will take some time before possible making any changes to their policy.

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Schools: University of North Carolina – Wilmington University of North Carolina – Greensboro University of North Carolina – Pembroke University of North Carolina – Charlotte University of North Carolina School of the Arts Cases: University of North Carolina System: State of the First Amendment