SEPT. 30, 2019

Earlier this year, the University of Iowa revised its student organization policy to permit student organizations to require their leaders “to agree to and support” the organization’s beliefs. 

You may find the Registration of Student Organizations policy on the Dean of Students webpage: https://dos.uiowa.edu/policies/registration-of-student-organizations/

Here are the relevant sections:

The University shall not deny any benefit or privilege to a student organization based on the student organization’s requirement that the leaders of the student organization agree to and support its beliefs, as those beliefs are interpreted and applied by the student organization, and to further its mission.

The University will not investigate complaints related to student organization leadership selection processes or final leadership selection by organizations that select their leaders on the basis of a commitment to a set of beliefs or affirmations. These selection processes are defined and enforced by individual student organizations and the university shall respect the organization’s decision-making process.

This change is in alignment with a new state law and Board of Regents policy addressing student organizations and the First Amendment.

The University of Iowa has always respected the right of students, faculty, and staff to practice the religion of their choice. The case involving Business Leaders in Christ and later InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship presented a difficult issue for a public university as administrators tried to balance the rights of all individuals on campus.

University administrators acted in good faith as they attempted to navigate the complicated interplay between the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the direct conflict with the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

FEB. 8, 2019

We are reviewing the ruling and will follow the court order.  

FEB. 5, 2019

Legal counsel for BLinC and InterVarsity has blatantly misrepresented the facts and documentation submitted to the court by the University of Iowa on Friday, February 1.  All religious organizations remain in registered status while the court decides, and ultimately directs, the university on how it should address the conflict that currently exists between the First Amendment and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. 

The university agreed with counsel for BLinC and InterVarsity to place the review of religious organization constitutions on hold once the InterVarsity lawsuit was filed against the university with the understanding that plaintiffs’ counsel would not file any further lawsuits pertaining to this issue pending the decision by the court in BLinC. 

The university has maintained the registered status of all religious and faith-based groups allowing them full access to all benefits, funding, facilities, and resources that are offered to all other student organizations on campus. Therefore, the university has not placed any religious student organization on “probationary status” as insinuated by BLinC’s legal counsel. 

This is a misrepresentation of the facts and all religious organizations remain in registered status while the court decides and ultimately directs the university on how it should address the conflict that currently exists between the First Amendment and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. 

The University of Iowa does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in accordance with federal and state law.

DEC. 21, 2018

The University of Iowa does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in accordance with federal and state law.

The University of Iowa respects the right of students, faculty, and staff to practice the religion of their choice. During orientation, new students are invited to learn about the 20 religious student organizations on campus and the worship opportunities in the surrounding community. 

When a voluntary student organization chooses to become a registered student organization, it must adhere to the mission of the university, the UI’s policies and procedures, and all local, state, and federal laws.

Membership and participation in a registered student organization must be open to all students without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The organization will guarantee that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons.

We have nothing else to provide at this time as the University of Iowa does not typically comment on matters in litigation. 

JAN. 23, 2018

The court has ordered the university to restore Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) to registered student organization status for 90 days. The university respects the decision of the court and has acted accordingly by extending an invitation to BLinC to participate in the student organization fair on January 24th. The university will not comment on the merits of the case per its policy on pending litigation.

DEC. 12, 2017

The University of Iowa does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in accordance with federal and state law.

The University of Iowa respects the right of students, faculty, and staff to practice the religion of their choice. During orientation, new students are invited to learn about the 20 religious student organizations on campus http://uiowa.orgsync.com/ and the worship opportunities in the surrounding community http://www.iowacity.com/religion.htm. 

However, when a voluntary student organization chooses to become a registered student organization, it must adhere to the mission of the university, the UI’s policies and procedures, and all local, state, and federal laws. The University of Iowa recently found Business Leaders in Christ violated the UI’s Human Rights Policy and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Membership and participation in the organization must be open to all students without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The organization will guarantee that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons.

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