University Reverses Decision to Derecognize InterVarsity Group for Requiring Its Leaders to Be Christian

ICC Note: Shortly after a lawsuit was filed against them, Wayne State University recently reversed the decision to unrecognize a Christian group on campus due to its policy of requiring student leaders to be Christian. The lawsuit, filed by religious freedom group Becket, asserted that many other student groups have restrictions for their leaders that the school accepts – such as requiring leaders of the Secular Student Alliance to be secular.

03/09/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – Wayne State University has reversed its decision to derecognize InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a student group because of its requirement that its leaders be Christian.

The reversal comes just two days after InterVarsity sued the school over the revocation of its status, even though the discussion about the matter has been ongoing since last fall.

According to the lawsuit, filed by the religious liberties group Becket, last October, then-group president Cristina Garza received a notice that InterVarsity’s submitted constitution was not able to be approved by the university. The constitution outlines that those of all faiths are permitted to attend meetings, but all leaders must share in the group’s faith and mission, as their responsibilities will include leading Bible study, prayer and worship.

Garza was informed that the requirement violated Wayne State’s non-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, sex (including gender identity), national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, height, weight, disability, or veteran status.”

University officials consequently derecognized InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a campus group, leaving its members unable to freely reserve space to meet on campus, apply for funding or use an online portal to post announcements. The group has been consequently paying out of its own pocket to rent meeting space.

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