GREENSBORO, N.C. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund are noting that the end of a lawsuit they filed on behalf of a Christian fraternity against officials with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill resulted in success, pointing out that the lawsuit caused the school to change its troubled non-discrimination policy, previously enjoined by the court.
“Christian students and student organizations should enjoy equal rights to free speech and free association on college campuses. Because of this litigation, the members of Alpha Iota Omega are no longer second-class citizens on campus,” said Senior Legal Counsel David French, who heads ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom. “We accomplished what we set out to achieve for our client: official recognition of the Christian fraternity by the university. This change in policy came only because of the lawsuit we filed.”
A judge with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled Thursday that the lawsuit need not proceed since ADF’s client, Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity, is now officially recognized by the university and succeeded in its efforts to have the 2003 policy of the university that denied the fraternity recognition changed. On March 3 of last year, the court issued an injunction prohibiting application of that policy. The school subsequently rewrote it.
“We are pleased that this lawsuit has caused UNC-Chapel Hill to change its treatment not only of the Alpha Iota Omega fraternity, but all religious student organizations at the university. No longer are student groups to be discriminated against based upon the fact that they hold to a particular religious viewpoint,” French explained. “The new policy is far from perfect, but its interpretation by the university is a vast improvement over the previous policy that denied religious student groups their constitutional rights.”
A copy of the ruling issued in the case Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity v. Moeser can be read here.
ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.