COLUMBIA, S.C. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and the Christian Legal Society filed suit in federal court Thursday against the University of South Carolina. The lawsuit challenges the university’s discriminatory policy of excluding religious student organizations from access to student activity fees available to other recognized student organizations.
“Christian student groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs,” said Casey Mattox, attorney for the CLS Center for Law and Religious Freedom. “The outright exclusion of religious student organizations from access to student activity fees is unconstitutional under clear Supreme Court precedent. It has been well established for over a decade that this type of discrimination violates the First Amendment.”
ADF and CLS attorneys represent the Christian Legal Society chapter at the University of South Carolina, which has been denied access to student activity fees by the university.
In addition to the student activity fee policies themselves, the lawsuit challenges the university’s processes for dispensing the fees, alleging that the procedures invite viewpoint discrimination against religious and other student organizations.
Instead of formally serving the complaint filed with the court, ADF and CLS attorneys sent a courtesy copy to university officials with a letter requesting that they correct the unconstitutional policy within two weeks.
“We are hopeful that the university will take this opportunity to remedy this constitutionally defective policy, making further litigation unnecessary,” explained ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden.
A copy of the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, in Christian Legal Society v. Sorenson can be viewed here. David Holmes of the Holmes Law Firm in Greenville is local counsel in the case.
The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is defending religious freedom at America’s public universities (www.centerforacademicfreedom.org). ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth. The CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom is a team of Christian attorneys allied with ADF to defend religious liberty and human life.