Judge Rules University Violated Christian Club’s First Amendment Rights


From The College Fix – On April 5, a judge for the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan handed down a ruling against Wayne State University and in favor of the First Amendment rights of the public school’s religious clubs.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship “has for 75 years operated a Christian student organization on the campus of Wayne State University, but in 2017 was denied continued official recognition or registration as a legitimate student group. Why? Because InterVarsity’s leadership standards ran afoul of the college’s ‘nondiscrimination policy’ in requiring that its faith leaders profess to be faithful,” Judge Robert Cleland framed the conflict in his decision.

An official for Wayne State had demanded InterVarsity amend its own constitution to allow anyone to be in leadership, even if they disagree with the religious beliefs of the organization. InterVarsity refused, so Wayne State de-registered the club in 2017.

Deregistration cut InterVarsity off from some funds and had the larger effect of removing the group as a normal part of campus life. With the help of the public interest law firm the Becket Fund, the club sued the college and won, three years later, in the ruling earlier this week.

Right after InterVarsity filed suit in 2018, WSU reinstated the club. But the school maintained that it had acted within its rights to de-register. InterVarsity, which is part of a much larger organization with its own publishing arm and with a presence on hundreds of campuses, decided this claim of rights was important, and so pressed on.

In their response, school administrators appeared bitter about InterVarsity’s decision to keep litigating.

“Unfortunately, despite the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship being granted everything it requested in a timely manner, it continued to pursue litigation, forcing the university to spend time and taxpayer dollars in an unnecessary lawsuit,” the university said in a statement to Fox News.

“Now, two years later, the judge has awarded $1 in nominal damages, as well as the opportunity for InterVarsity to continue the lawsuit in pursuit of compensatory damages, despite having been restored to their previous status in March of 2018.”

Read Full Article by Jeremy Lott of The College Fix by Clicking Here


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