A federal court ruled University of Iowa officials must pay out of their own pockets for discriminating against a prominent Christian student group, calling the university’s conduct “ludicrous” and “incredibly baffling” during a hearing last week.
Judge Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled Friday that the University of Iowa and its officers violated constitutional law when they kicked InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and other religious groups, off the campus in June 2018 for requiring leaders to uphold Christian beliefs — but giving a pass to secular student groups that also have leadership requirements.
The university limited the Christian group’s access to campus after being there for over 25 years, froze its bank account, shut down its website and advertised that it was “defunct” for lack of student interest, according to court documents. This violated the Christian group’s free speech and free exercise rights, the court ruled.
“It’s rare for a federal judge to call out a public university for ‘ludicrous’ and ‘incredibly baffling’ violations of the First Amendment,” Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at Becket, who represented InterVarsity and BLinC, told Fox News. “But it was necessary here. The court already told the University of Iowa to stop picking on one Christian student group. The University responded by doubling down and kicking out Christian, Muslim and Sikh groups. That was obviously wrong. And it’s even more clearly wrong once you consider, as the court did, that it was also unfair.”
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