COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina has changed its policy of excluding religious student organizations from student activities fee allocations available to other recognized student organizations. The change came about as the result of a federal lawsuit filed in February by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and Christian Legal Society Center for Law & Religious Freedom.
“Christian student groups should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs. The courts have determined for well over a decade that the exclusion of religious student organizations from student activity fee funding violates the First Amendment,” said Isaac Fong, an attorney with the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “To the credit of university officials, they realized the problem and requested that we work with them to ensure policy changes that treated religious and non-religious student groups equally.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the university will adopt new rules concerning funding of student organizations consistent with the recommendations of CLS attorneys. A moratorium on any funding of student organizations will remain in place until the new rules are finalized.
The lawsuit Christian Legal Society v. Sorenson was filed Feb. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division.
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom defends religious freedom at America’s public universities (www.centerforacademicfreedom.org). ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. The CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom is a team of Christian attorneys allied with ADF to defend religious liberty and human life.