UNCG To Recognize Pro-Life Club
Special Report - March 15, 2012
Faced with a lawsuit for denying university recognition to a pro-life student group, officials at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro have reportedly changed their minds and decided to grant the club’s request to be recognized as an official religious club. The lawsuit against UNC-Greensboro was filed on February 29 by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) on behalf of a pro-life student group, Make Up Your Own Mind, which had requested a belief-based exemption to UNC-Greensboro’s nondiscrimination policy that would have allowed the club to be recognized as an official religious club and to limit its membership to students and leaders who adhere to similar beliefs. According to the lawsuit, UNC-Greensboro denied the club the exemption, “even though the club has a clear religious mission and purpose and requires its members and leaders to agree with its statement of faith and beliefs about the value of innocent human life.”
According to the Associated Press, UNC-G spokesperson Helen Dennisson Hebert said in an emailed statement on March 13 that the university’s decision to deny the club recognition as a religious club was the result of a misunderstanding about the university’s nondiscrimination policy. As we previously reported, the nondiscrimination policy requires officially recognized student groups to accept voting members and leaders “without regard to their …religion” as a condition of university recognition, but allows an exemption from that requirement for belief-based clubs. “We have apologized to (the group) for the delay in determining their status and notified them that we are granting the organization recognition,” Hebert wrote in the statement.
Despite the statement from UNC-Greensboro indicating that it will grant official recognition to the Make Up Your Own Mind club, ADF says the lawsuit will continue for now. “Public university officials step over the line when they decide to become theologians instead and declare that a Christian club isn’t really religious. It is good to hear that UNC-Greensboro wants to right this wrong after more than 10 months of violating the club’s constitutionally protected rights,” said ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, in a statement. “The university must make changes to its policies to make sure this does not happen again in the future. The lawsuit will continue until an acceptable policy change is made.”
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Duke University Issues Apology - April 7, 2010
Stifling Campus Speech - February 22, 2010
Feds Launch Investigation Over Discrimination at UNC-Chapel Hill - August 20, 2004
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