The University of Iowa is doubling down on efforts to purge its campus of Christian groups.
In January, a federal judge ruled the school couldn’t enforce its anti-bias policy against Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) because it hadn’t made other student groups comply. The policy prevents Christian groups from having religious leadership requirements and mandates all groups include a “human rights” clause in their constitutions.
Rather than drop its bid against the Christian ministry, school leaders decided to enforce the policy equally, which could help its case when the lawsuit brought by BLinC goes to trial next year.
Last week, administrators revoked official recognition for 38 student groups that do not meet the anti-bias policy requirements. Most have either religious or cultural affiliations. The list includes Imam Mahdi, an organization open only to Shia Muslims. The federal judge who sided with BLinC cited Imam Mahdi’s existence as proof administrators had not enforced the policy fairly.
Almost all the university’s student groups agreed to embrace the “human rights” policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, or other protected class. But it’s not clear whether they will abide by it. Administrators expect all of the school’s fraternities and sororities to adopt the policy before the Sept. 4 deadline. Seventeen already have. But do those groups really plan to open membership to all students, regardless of sex? And will school administrators penalize a fraternity if a girl pledges but doesn’t get in? —L.J.