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The College Fix: “The controversial decision to select Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, as the commencement speaker at the private, all-women’s Barnard College in New York City has prompted some righteous indignation.”
Rod Dreher at The American Conservative: “This is jaw-dropping. The only danger on campus is to the 120 participants in this conference, who will no doubt face heckling and possibly worse from gay activists and their allies, trying to disrupt the meeting. And the university — an actual American university! — is requiring them to pay nearly $6,000 to guarantee their right to lawfully assemble and practice free speech. On a campus. Of an American university.”
California sisters fighting back after professor steals graphic pro-life sign; police report released
Fox News: “Two California sisters told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Thursday they are fighting back against a college professor [Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young] who they say assaulted them and stole their pro-life signs because ‘no one has the right to take someone else’s property.’”
OneNewsNow: “‘And so [our client was] effectively shut out from engaging in any speech activities over a huge campus – and as anyone who’s been to the University of Tennessee knows it’s very large,’ says the ADF legal counsel [Jonathan Scruggs].”
OneNewsNow: “After Oklahoma State University officials prevented Cowboys for Life from displaying photos of aborted fetuses in high-traffic areas, the group complained. Travis Barham of Alliance Defending Freedom says they filed a lawsuit because the school threatened them with disciplinary action because of the group’s pushback.”
Stanford Anscombe Society: “The Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) is requesting that Stanford University remove a burdensome $5,600 security fee it imposed on the conference organizers following the Graduate Student Council’s revocation of funding for its April Communicating Values conference.”
Jennifer S. Bryson, Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute, at Public Discourse: “Stanford University is once again facing controversy about freedom of speech on campus. Today, the issue is a student group, the Stanford Anscombe Society, which supports man-woman marriage and plans to hold a conference in early April. Students active in LGBTQ causes would like to prevent this conference from taking place.”
The Observer: “On Monday evening, the Tocqueville Program, the Institute for Church Life, the Gender Relations Center and the Center for Ethics and Culture sponsored a panel discussion entitled ‘Marriage, the Church, and the Common Good: Philosophical, Pastoral, and Social Reflections.’ The panel featured Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, Ron Belgau and Jennifer Roback Morse, who discussed evolving views on sexuality and challenges people face in modern marriages.”
Associated Press: “Four conservative Republican Indiana legislators are questioning Ball State University’s decision to prohibit the teaching of intelligent design in a science course.”
EWTN: “Arizona State University’s partnership with a Catholic college providing theology courses to students won praise from scholar Father Robert Spitzer as ‘an experiment in the logic of complementarity.’ . . . Fr. Spitzer said the partnership between Arizona State and North Dakota’s University of Mary breaks down an older model that created an ‘artificial separation’ between the public university and religious studies that could come from within a specific church.”
Stanford Graduate Student Council denies funding for event including Ryan T. Anderson, Kellie Fiedorek
Stanford Daily: “SAS had sought $600 in honoraria funds from the GSC for conference speakers. However, members of GradQ, the queer graduate student organization, criticized the speaker list–which included Robert Lopez, Kellie Fiedorek and Ryan Anderson–as inappropriately controversial.”
“Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that asks the court to make clear that a public employee has a First Amendment right to speak freely outside the workplace, especially when he is legally required to testify truthfully in a court proceeding. Alliance Defending Freedom filed the brief to ensure broader free speech protections for employees of public universities and colleges that often suppress their employees’ speech simply because the schools disagree with their views.”
Notre Dame News: “A panel discussion on the role of the Catholic Church in the cultural and political debate about marriage will take place at 7 p.m. Monday (March 17) in DeBartolo Hall, Room 101, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.”
Owen Strachan at The American Spectator: “It is because Bowdoin has historically embodied this statement that recent developments at the school have taken me and many others aback. In a move that has reminded many onlookers of heavy-handed institutional actions at Vanderbilt University and Tufts University, the school’s administration presented Bowdoin Christian Fellowship (BCF) volunteer leaders Rob and Sim Gregory with a ‘non-discrimination’ statement. This statement required, among other things, that the Gregorys open BCF leadership up to students of any sexual orientation.”
Religion Clause: “Now, according to yesterday’s Purdue Eponent, the University has agreed to revised language which shows the reference as a quotation from the donor.”
OneNewsNow: “Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham tells OneNewsNow his firm sent a letter to the Universities of Wisconsin and Iowa State, telling them they needlessly removed the Bibles in response to the threat of a lawsuit from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.”
Patrick Deneen at The American Conservative: “‘Academic freedom’ was the means by which the substantial commitments once held mainly by religious institutions were initially destabilized and eventually rejected, and provided the cover for their replacement with a new set of commitments. . . . Absent a connection with the truth about the human person as disclosed by the incarnation of Christ, a contentless ‘freedom’ tended inevitably toward false understandings of the human person and the loss of the basis of true freedom.”
Associated Press: “As part of the settlement, OSU has agreed to update its student code of conduct policy, drop any verbal warnings against the organization from the event in question and pay $25,000 in legal fees to Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the student group.”
A new legal settlement means pro-life student groups will no longer face disruption of their pro-life events and displays at Oklahoma State University. Cowboys for Life, a student organization represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, filed a federal lawsuit against the university last year after officials there took numerous actions to impede and disrupt the group’s pro-life displays on campus.
The Chronicle Herald: “The president of a British Columbia university that has sparked controversy over its policy that prohibits same-sex intimacy is scheduled to speak before Nova Scotia’s bar society today. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is holding hearings to determine whether it should recognize degrees from Trinity Western University.”
LifeSiteNews: “With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, CFL filed a lawsuit in federal court on January 25, Cowboys for Life v. Sampson. The lawsuit would have struck down two campus policies preventing students from presenting their views and requested $10,000 in damages.”
Cardinal Newman Society: “In light of the Illinois law legalizing same-sex marriage which is scheduled to go into effect in June of this year, Loyola University Chicago announced that it has changed its policies to allow only Catholic weddings on campus.”
Tulsa World: “Oklahoma State University officials and an anti-abortion student group reached a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday, part of which stipulates OSU must change its code of conduct and pay legal fees to an organization involved in a federal lawsuit fighting same-sex marriage in Oklahoma . . . Representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom, who helped the student plaintiffs find local legal representation, said at the time the case was a “textbook violation” of the First Amendment.”
FOX News: “Purdue University, which once defended the right of a private speaker to blaspheme Jesus, has banned an alumni donor from using the word ‘God’ on a plaque because it might offend someone.”
“University administrators cannot pick and choose which viewpoints they will allow on campus. This settlement resolves that problem at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville by removing the vague policies that the 6th Circuit found to be unconstitutional. Confusing policies that don’t provide appropriate direction to both speakers and university officials don’t benefit anyone.”
Christian legal group encourages universities to reinstate Bibles following atheist complaint | Christian Post
Christian Post: “But ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham contended in a statement that public universities must accommodate religious freedom, rather than purge their campus of all religious expression.”
Asia News: “After weeks of protests by inter-faith groups, Gajah Mada University (UGM), one of Indonesia’s oldest and most renowned centres of higher education, suspended a controversial regulation that prevented people from openly professing atheism or any religion other than the six recognised by the state.”
The Blaze: “The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal firm based in Arizona, is urging both the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University to continue allowing Gideon Bibles in night stands. The organization is claiming that the First Amendment does not preclude their presence in public accommodations, Christian News Network reported.”
Iowa State Daily: “The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, recently wrote letters to both Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin, claiming that the argument by the foundation was in conflict with legal precedent.”
WSJ Law Blog: “A federal district judge in Mississippi on Friday dismissed his lawsuit, saying the professor’s the speech ‘was not protected from employer discipline’ because his comments were made as part of his duties as a public employee.” | The opinion is here.
The Gazette: “David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, agreed. He said universities are demanding religious groups accept students who surreptitiously rise to positions of authority only to challenge a group’s core principles.”
Des Moines Register Editorial: “Since the Bibles’ removal made news, Iowa State officials have been hammered by critics who believe they are wrongly complicit in removing religion from the public sphere. Fox News jumped on the story. Then a Georgia-based organization called Alliance Defending Freedom countered with a demand of its own that the university keep the Gideon Bibles because otherwise it would violate the First Amendment with an act of ‘hostility to religion.’”
The College Fix: “‘Public universities, which are the marketplaces of ideas, should understand that the First Amendment does not require them to purge something from campus just because it happens to be religious. Rather, the Constitution requires them to accommodate religion,’ Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham said in a prepared statement.”
Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University this week after the schools needlessly removed Bibles from all university guest rooms after receiving complaints from an atheist group.
OneNewsNow: “Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, have joined together in the lawsuit against the emergency contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Greg Baylor explains that the two schools have predominately Christian students and teachers.”
A pro-life student group’s display will return to a hallway at the University of Alabama Thursday. The university apologized Monday to Bama Students for Life, represented by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, for an official’s decision to remove the display on Feb. 6 because some people said they found it “offensive.”
The Crimson White (University of Alabama): “Following the incident, Bama Students for Life retained legal counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal group out of Phoenix, Ariz. While no legal actions were taken, Matt Sharp, the ADF lawyer representing BSFL, said Sunday that he and the group’s leaders would plan their next steps if the requests in the letter were not met.”
Washington Post: “George Mason University will allow male and female students to live together in on-campus dorm rooms starting this fall, adding itself to the growing list of U.S. schools that formally offer gender-neutral housing.”
Iowa City Press Citizen: “Rooms at Iowa State University’s Hotel Memorial Union will no longer contain Gideon bibles, after a guest complained to a watchdog group about ‘unwelcome religious propaganda in the bedside table.’”
Students fight back after University of Alabama crushes free speech of pro-lifers | Students for Life
Students for Life of America Press Release: “Bama Students for Life have retained Alliance Defending Freedom as legal counsel and plan 2 days of public events to address this troubling loss of First Amendment rights and discrimination.”
Tuscaloosa News: “Chretien said the groups would wait for the response before deciding on any further action. The student group has retained legal counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal defense group that advocates for religious freedom. The group has also been in contact with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.”
University of Alabama students “offended” by pro-life display, school promptly removes it | Townhall
Cortney O’Brien at Townhall: “Bama Students for Life are working with Alliance Defending Freedom to challenge their school’s intolerant decision. Here’s hoping justice wins out and Bama Students for Life are not denied the chance to courageously defend the lives of precious unborn children.”
Robby Soave at The Daily Caller: “Administrators at the University of Alabama secretly removed an anti-abortion display because some students found it offensive . . . The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Bama Students for Life. The group has asked the university to apologize for censoring the poster and allow Chretien to display it again.”
Alec Torres at National Review: ‘We’re not seeking for anyone else’s display to be taken down at all,’ Matt Sharp, an attorney from The Alliance to Defending Freedom defending the pro-life students tells me. ‘What Bama students For Life seek is the same rights everyone else has.’”
LifeNews: “‘Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, not arenas for censoring particular viewpoints just because someone feels offended,’ said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. ‘We support Bama Students for Life and look forward to continuing to working with them to ensure that their constitutional freedoms are protected.’”
Dr. Susan Berry at WORLD: “‘Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, not arenas for censoring particular viewpoints just because someone feels offended,’ said Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Matt Sharp.”
“A University of Alabama official removed a pro-life student group’s hallway display last week without any notification to the group after she claimed that some students found the display offensive. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent the student group, Bama Students for Life, which provided a letter to the university Tuesday to register a formal complaint about the incident.”
National Labor Relations Board: “The National Labor Relations Board is inviting briefs from interested parties on two questions: whether a religiously-affiliated university is subject to the Board’s jurisdiction, and whether certain university faculty members seeking to be represented by a union are employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act or excluded managerial employees.Click here to view the invitation for briefs.”
The Globe and Mail: “Concerned law professors are pressing their provincial societies to rethink recognizing graduates of a proposed new law program at Trinity Western University, a faith-based school that prohibits same-sex intimacy.”
Bradenton Herald: “Catholic organizations in Wyoming filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the birth-control coverage requirement in federal government’s health care overhaul. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, which covers the entire state, together with a number of Catholic schools and charities, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Cheyenne.” | Comment from The Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, DD, STL, Bishop of Cheyenne | Wyoming Catholic College Press Release
National Catholic Register: “David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, agreed with Walsh in his assessment that higher education institutions throughout the country are beginning to challenge whether religious organizations should require moral and philosophical standards among appointed or elected officers. He said campus administrations want groups to tolerate students who rise to positions of authority and subsequently reject the core principles of the groups they lead.”
New York Law Journal: “Northern District Judge Glenn Suddaby (See Profile) reduced the requested award of $56,057 that attorneys for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defending Freedom sought, but granted significantly more than the zero the state attorney general’s office would have offered.” | [Subscription required to view full article.]
WSJ: “The University of Notre Dame is trying again to get a court injunction so it can stop covering contraception for its employees, following a favorable Supreme Court order in a similar case.”
The Colorado Independent: ”The measure, House Bill 14-1048, would have prevented universities from enforcing non-discrimination requirements for religious groups seeking state funding and other resources available to student organizations.”
Montreal Gazette: “Concordia University stood its ground on Thursday in opposing Bill 60 even as a cabinet minister questioned and disputed its diversity rules allowing religious symbols on campus.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker will be testifying before the Colorado House Education Committee in favor of House Bill 1048, a bill that protects religious freedom for student groups at state institutions of higher education.
Alec Torres at The Corner: “The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations.”
Wisconsin State Journal: “UW-Extension has ended a decades-old practice and pulled Gideon Bibles from the 137 guest rooms at The Lowell Center, a campus conference facility it operates at 610 Langdon St. The action followed a complaint from the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
StaceyPageOnline: On Dec. 27, a federal court ruled in favor of Grace College suspending the enforcement of the abortion pill mandate against the Winona Lake based school . . . For additional information concerning the federal law suit, see the press release from Alliance Defending Freedom HERE.
Karen Sloan at National Law Journal: The American Bar Association proposal to eliminate its tenure requirement for law schools drew a hostile reception during the Association of American Law School’s annual meeting in New York over the weekend.
Newson6.com: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor issued the following statement in reaction to the judge’s ruling. “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people–under threat of punishment–to give up their fundamental freedoms and act contrary to their beliefs. That’s no different for these Christian colleges, which simply want to abide by the very faith they espouse and teach. The court has rightfully suspended the Obamacare abortion pill mandate against these schools while their case moves forward. The government should not punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”
Biola University, Grace Seminary Granted Exemption From Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate | Christian Post
Christian Post: The two Christian institutions had filed suit in August 2012 with the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization headquarted in Scottsdale, Arizona. Officials representing the schools asserted that the mandate violated their core Christian principles.
Todd Zywicki at Volokh Conspiracy: For private schools, these data are difficult to uncover, but the University of Baltimore report corroborates a widely held view that universities in general impose a “tax” amounting to between 20 and 25 percent of their law schools’ gross revenues.
Biola University, Grace Seminary Granted Exemption From Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate | ChristianNews.net (includes video)
ChristianNews.net (includes video): “The Constitution and federal law protect people of faith and the institutions they lead from invasive and punitive government mandates. Allowing two explicitly Christian universities to operate as Christian universities is the only constitutionally correct conclusion,” said Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor in a written statement. “In light of all the legal victories against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate, the wisest course is for the administration to drop this unjust mandate, stop wasting taxpayer resources on these cases, and end its attacks on the First Amendment.” . . . “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who represents Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. “The administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free. We trust the Supreme Court will agree. A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts—like the use of abortion drugs—under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Bill Sherman at MedCityNews (12/25): Gregory S. Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the universities, said, “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people — under threat of punishment — to give up their fundamental freedoms and act contrary to their beliefs. “That’s no different for these Christian colleges, which simply want to abide by the very faith they espouse and teach. “The court has rightfully suspended the ‘Obamacare’ abortion pill mandate against these schools while their case moves forward. The government should not punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”
“All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people–under threat of punishment–to give up their fundamental freedoms and act contrary to their beliefs. That’s no different for these Christian colleges, which simply want to abide by the very faith they espouse and teach. The court has rightfully suspended the Obamacare abortion pill mandate against these schools while their case moves forward. The government should not punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”
U. of Mich. sued for funding student events based on which views it prefers | Alliance Defending Freedom
National Law Journal: The University of Kansas School of Law must pay a $50,000 fine for admitting two foreign attorneys into a new LL.M. program that the ABA had not approved.
Cardinal Newman Society: Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., has reversed its decision to directly provide insurance for contraceptives but assured employees that they will still have access to the coverage through Obamacare, according to a letter sent out by Gonzaga’s human resources department and obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society.
BBC: Canada’s first faith-based law school has been approved over objections from gay-rights advocates and hundreds of law students. Trinity Western University’s code of conduct states students can be expelled if they have same-sex relationships. Critics say the law school will produce lawyers with an anti-gay bias in a country with anti-discrimination laws and legal gay marriage.
National Law Journal: According to figures released by the American Bar Association, law schools enrolled 39,675 new students this fall—an 11 percent decrease from the 44,481 students who enrolled last fall.