— Officials at Wright State University have agreed to reverse their decision to deny recognition of a Christian student group after receiving letters and public exposure from both the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
WSU officials told Campus Bible Fellowship, which has existed as a registered student organization at the university for more than 30 years, that in order to obtain recognition for the 2009-2010 school year, they would likely need to abandon a requirement that its voting members and officers abide by faith-based principles.
“Christian student groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Just as other student clubs should not be forced to abandon their beliefs to be recognized by the university, neither should this club. Requiring a Christian club to be run by non-Christians is like requiring a Young Democrats club to be run by Republicans. It makes no sense, and it is unconstitutional. We are pleased that WSU understands this and has demonstrated that it is willing to respect the constitutional rights of the members of Campus Bible Fellowship.”
WSU denied CBF official recognition during the 2009 winter quarter because it requires its voting members and officers to subscribe to the group’s Articles of Faith. CBF sought assistance from FIRE, which issued a letter to the university. WSU granted the group recognition during the 2009 spring quarter but told the group that, in order to retain it for the following academic year, it would likely need to abandon its faith-based principles. When the situation appeared to require litigation, FIRE referred the club to the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, which helped revise CBF’s constitution and provided assistance on other legal matters.
ADF attorneys sent a letter along with CBF’s recent 2009-2010 recognition application to WSU officials. After receiving the letter, WSU officials agreed to allow CBF to keep their faith-based requirements and still register as an official student organization for the upcoming school year.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.