The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that schools don’t need to officially recognize, or give official status to, student groups that discriminate.
Hopefully this closes a case where obviousness should have prevailed from the beginning. The case was brought about by the Christian Legal Society (CLS,) a student group with a chapter at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco after the college revoked official status of the CLS.
The school’s policy is that official student groups must be inclusive and not exclude potential members based on the fairly standard list of things you can’t discriminate against.
The student group “does not allow students to become voting members or to assume leadership positions unless they affirm what the group calls orthodox Christian beliefs and disavow “unrepentant participation or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle.”‘ This would include “sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”
While I must admit that last statement is a “cute” way of hiding homophobia beneath a layer of pious prudishness, it is still unacceptable.
As a consequence, the student group cannot use the college’s name or logo or use meeting rooms or communication vehicles the college provides for recognized groups. Not having official recognition also means the group is not eligible for other benefits — privileges — the college offers including special email access and limited financing. This is pretty standard stuff essentially ensuring the CLS cannot be seen as speaking on behalf of the college or its students.
In typical fundie fashion, Gregory Baylor, a lawyer for the CLS, said the ruling would require the organization “to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies.” Um, no. The college isn’t telling the 30 member group to change their beliefs, it is merely saying they can’t promote such discrimination and bigotry using funding from the college. The CLS can continue to meet off-campus and can raise their own funding. What they can’t do is pretend to be affiliated with the college.
If they so badly require funding from the college, they will have to follow the criteria for recognition meaning they will have to stop discriminating. That’s a far cry from a college-appointed atheist Bible study leader.
Given that this is a law school, real justice would be expelling the students who brought about this frivolous suit in the first place. Not for their beliefs, of course, but for grossly misinterpreting the law.