Campus Bible Fellowship (“CBF”) had been a recognized student club at Wright State University (“WSU”) for over thirty years until January 2009. WSU denied CBF recognition in January for two reasons. First, the club insisted that its voting members—those who exercise control over the group’s religious mission and message on campus—be Christians who agree with CBF’s Articles of Faith. Second, the club refused to include certain terms (like “religion” and “gender identity/expression”) in the nondiscrimination language WSU required it to include in its club constitution because including those terms would prevent the group from following its Christian beliefs.
After receiving letters from both the ADF Center for Academic Freedom and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, WSU reversed course and agreed to allow CBF to keep its faith-based membership requirements and to register as an official student organization for the upcoming school year. WSU also granted CBF exemptions from the terms of WSU’s nondiscrimination policy that conflicted with CBF’s religious beliefs.
The First Amendment protects the right of private religious students groups to associate around shared religious views and to select leaders and members who agree with those views. Without this right, religious student groups will quickly have their distinctive religious messages diluted or entirely lost.
Know someone who would like to know more about their religious rights on campus?