Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Group denies students

In a contentious verdict, the Ohio State University administration allowed a campus Christian organization to bar homosexuals. The decision permitted the Christian Legal Society (CLS) chapter at OSU to deny admittance to two students who wanted to join the group last fall.

The students were denied on grounds that one was an Evangelical Christian, and the other, a homosexual. OSU, facing a lawsuit from the group, decided to change their nondiscrimination policy to allow religious organizations to bar students.

According to Nancy Lynch, University of Wisconsin Legal Counsel, most universities are “holding their breath” to see what will happen with four other universities going to court over a similar issue.


“Hopefully, we’ll have the courts solve it,” Lynch said.

Two of the universities debating the controversy include the University of California’s Hastings Law College and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Still, the OSU decision to allow organizations to bar students has already had a serious impact on gay-rights activists around the country and spurred debate.

According to the Eric Trekell, director of UW Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender group, there are some serious concerns with OSU’s decision.

“Universities have long argued they have a fundamental need to support diversity at college,” Trekell said. “Student organizations are more effective if any member can join an organization.”

The decision can also have serious implications for other controversial organizations not related to religious groups.

According to Trekell, a university’s abstainment from contentious issues is “a danger.”

Additionally, Trekell said he does not understand why an Evangelical Christian group like the CLS does not want to accept more non-Christian members.

“What I can’t understand is their rationale that if they want to evangelize, they have to have people come [who are not Christian],” Trekell said.

However, others argue this is not an issue of civil or university rights, but rather the defense of the First Amendment.

David Goldberger, a Jewish liberal constitutional law professor at Ohio State, said a university is supposed to be a place of freedom of speech and thought.

“Whether we agree with them or not, they have a First Amendment right to believe what they believe and not be discriminated against or be oppressed by the university,” Goldberger said. “There has to be room for those views on a university campus.”

Trekell, who comes from an Evangelical background, agreed the climate on campus can be unwelcoming toward contentious views.

“Some liberal campuses are hostile to Evangelical Christians on campus — they feel like they’re shut down,” he said.

Goldberger said he was stunned to find how widespread the discriminatory nature was toward the CLS, especially among members of faculty and administration.

“I think university faculty and administrators are no different from anybody else,” Goldberger said. “When they’re asked to tolerate things they really disagree with, it’s asking them for a kind of tolerance that many can’t engage in.”

Still, Trekell finds religious groups’ involvement at universities unwell altogether.

“Frankly, I don’t personally think religious groups [should] be recognized on campus,” Trekell said. “I don’t believe churches should be involved in politics, either, but they are.”

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