‘It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Christian group on the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs’ campus is suing the school for forcing it to admit members and officers who don’t share their religious beliefs.
Ratio Christi, a Christian apologetics group, was denied a registered status by the university because its members must be professed Christians. However, any student on campus can attend its events or meeting. The organization simply chooses to reserve its officer positions for those who support the group’s purpose.
The group took its case to religious rights advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom and its ADF Center for Academic Freedom, which specializes in persecution on college campuses. ADF has represented Ratio Christi in a number of other cases on campuses like the University of Virginia, Texas A&M and Arizona State.
“Like any other student group at a public university, religious student organizations should be free to choose their leaders without the government meddling,” ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham said in a statement.
The students argue the administration is discriminating against them and their religious beliefs by not giving the group a registered status. Such a status allows clubs on campus to receive funding, meet in campus buildings and hold events.
“It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president. Likewise, the University of Colorado shouldn’t force Christian students to let atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies in order to become a registered club,” Barham said.
Under its existing policy, the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs can deny a registered status to any group it deems “discriminatory.”
But this policy prevents religious groups like Ratio Christi from choosing officers that best fit with its religious beliefs.
“Despite claiming inclusiveness and diversity as its core values, the University of Colorado is failing to foster real diversity of thought and is, instead, discriminating against a Christian group based on its beliefs,” Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel and director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, said in a statement.
“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, university presidents, and voters, but at the University of Colorado, students are learning the wrong message: that government can dictate who can lead certain student groups. It’s vital that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”