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Lawsuit prompts Colorado university to change policy, protect students’ freedoms

ADF attorneys representing Ratio Christi secure settlement restoring students’ free speech, association

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. May 14, 2019 // -- The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs has settled a lawsuit with Ratio Christi and agreed to change its policy requiring the group to accept members and officers that do not share the group’s beliefs. Last year, the Christian apologetics organization attempted to found a chapter at UCCS, but the school refused to grant it registered status, because Ratio Christi requires its student leaders to support the group’s mission and share its beliefs. In November, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Ratio Christi’s behalf.

“Christians largely founded the universities,” said Ratio Christi President and CEO, Dr. Corey Miller. “But today, Christians fight for the right to exist and gather on campus. We’re grateful the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs has restored a degree of campus viewpoint diversity by updating its student group policy. We encourage Christian students and educators—in Colorado and across the country—to continue sharing a thoughtful Christianity with anyone who is curious.”

As part of the settlement, the university agreed to grant Ratio Christi registered status, pay over $20,500 in attorneys’ fees and damages, and update its policies to ensure that a student club may require its leadership to promote the purposes of the club and hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission.

Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance has nearly 200 chapters at colleges and universities in the U.S and abroad. These chapters—many of which meet weekly—provide a friendly venue for atheists, skeptics, and adherents to any religion to investigate the claims of Christianity, discuss religious beliefs, and seek truth without fearing reprisal. Ratio Christi’s mission is to equip students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific evidence for following Jesus Christ. The organization also has an apologetics outreach to high school students.

“We commend the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for quickly implementing this common sense policy reform,” said ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham. “It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president. Thankfully, the University has acknowledged its error and announced a policy that respects students’ rights to free association, no longer forcing Christian students to let atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies in order to become a registered club.”

The lawsuit challenged the university’s policy which allowed USCS officials to deny registered status to a group because the organization selects leaders that share and will advocate for the organization’s religious or political philosophy. They also gave officials unlimited discretion to approve or reject student groups, even groups that meet all the published requirements.

Media representatives interested in more information about the settled case of Ratio Christi at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs v. Sharkey can contact ADF Media Relations at (480) 444–0020 or media@adflegal.org.