University of Iowa officials found liable for discrimination against Christian student groups
Several officials at the University of Iowa will have to pay up after a federal judge determined the university discriminated against religious student groups.The judge, in this case, was an Obama appointee. She reached the right decision. The hostility of the University toward the student organizations was clearly wrong and the punishment is much deserved.
Last July, the university kicked the interdenominational evangelical InterVarsity student group off campus for requiring its leaders to be Christian, claiming this violated the school's nondiscrimination policy. The school then applied the same penalty to a dozen other student religious organizations with a similar requirement that leaders reflect the faith of the group but did not punish any secular organization with a mandate that leaders share the group's identity.
But on Friday, U.S. District Judge Stephanie Marie Rose ruled the school was discriminating against the religious groups and concluded the violation was so flagrant that the school officials responsible for it would have to pay InterVarsity for money it lost in its legal battle to stay on campus. The vice president and several other officers have been found liable, and university president Bruce Harreld may also have to pay. Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit law firm focused on religious liberty that represented InterVarsity, told the Washington Examiner that the group will evaluate whether to press forward with claims against him.
Rose, an Obama appointee, did not hold back when addressing the university's defense, saying she found the university's actions "ludicrous" and "incredibly baffling." She was especially surprised by the university's behavior because it had already been found guilty of illegally targeting religious organizations and told to end its unequal treatment of student groups earlier this year.