Savannah State administrators revoked official recognition for Commissioned II [“to”] Love Discipleship Ministries, a Christian ministry, due to alleged hazing violations. According to administrators, this hazing occurred when the ministry held a foot washing ceremony in a discipleship retreat. Such a ceremony follows the example of Christ, who washed the feet of His disciples in an example of service, love, and humility. This resulted in the student group’s complete loss of access to the campus for any activities. On March 2, 2007, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom and the National Litigation Foundation filed suit against Savannah State University officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, alleging violations of the First Amendment.
WIN. On August 24, 2007, the district court rejected Savannah State’s motion to dismiss, thus allowing all of Commissioned II Love’s First Amendment claims to proceed. In March 2008, Savannah State and Commissioned II Love reached a settlement that allows Commissioned II Love to return to campus.
Christian student organizations have a right to associate freely with like-minded students and practice their religious beliefs on and off campus. Public universities cannot exclude these groups from campus simply because they engage in Christian religious practices.
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