Opinion sought on Bible study

November 15, 2005

UW System officials asked the attorney general Monday for her opinion on whether a UW-Eau Claire policy that bans resident assistants from leading Bible studies in their dorm rooms is constitutional.

The policy has prompted sharp criticism of the university, and UW System spokesman Doug Bradley said officials feel a sense of urgency to settle the matter.

Kelly Kennedy, a spokesman for Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, said her office received the request late Monday and had not had a chance to review it.

“This is something we need to have the chief legal mind in the state let us know what’s right,” Bradley said.

UW-Eau Claire resident assistant Lance Steiger, who challenged the policy, said he was happy to see the System seek Lautenschlager’s opinion. But he said a lawsuit is possible if the school doesn’t change its policy.

“It’s a good sign that the university is taking a second look at their policy,” Steiger said. “It shows me that they want to do the right thing. What I hope comes from it is they will see having a Bible study is free speech.”

UW System President Kevin Reilly wrote in a letter to Lautenschlager that UW-Eau Claire has banned resident assistants from leading, recruiting or organizing students in their dorm rooms for activities such as partisan politics, religious studies or sales parties...

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