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Posts tagged ‘University of Idaho’

Judge stops Idaho university from punishing Christian students for opposing gay marriage


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor | July 5, 2022

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/judge-stops-idaho-university-from-punishing-christian-students.html/

The University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. | University of Idaho Photo Services

A judge issued a temporary block to a university policy that censored three Christian students who had expressed opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Students Peter Perlot, Mark Miller and Ryan Alexander sued the University of Idaho over a policy in which they were barred from talking with a student about their views on same-sex marriage. The three belong to the University of Idaho chapter of the Christian Legal Society, which holds traditional views on the definition of marriage and sexual ethics.

In an order released last week, Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the university’s policies against the plaintiffs. Nye noted that university officials targeted the plaintiffs over their specific religious views, namely their opposition to same-sex marriage.

“Defendants’ orders targeted the viewpoint of Plaintiffs’ speech. Both students and professors expressed opposing viewpoints to the views expressed by Plaintiffs without any type of intervention, let alone punishment,” wrote Nye.

“The disparity in Defendants’ approach is what bothers the Court most about this case and leans towards a finding that Defendants’ actions were designed to repress specific speech.”

Nye added that “the Court agrees Plaintiffs have a high likelihood of showing Defendants violated the First Amendment by issuing the no-contact orders based on the content and viewpoint of their speech.”

“Some may disagree with Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Such is each person’s prerogative and right. But none should disagree that Plaintiffs have a right to express their religious beliefs without fear of retribution. The Constitution makes that clear,” he added.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm helping to represent the three plaintiffs, released a press release Friday celebrating the injunction order.

“Peter, Mark, and Ryan are guaranteed the freedom under the First Amendment to discuss their faith on campus, just like every other student and faculty member,” said ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann, as quoted in the press release.

“We’re pleased they are again free to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms without fear of punishment, and we look forward to a final resolution of this case in their favor and, ultimately, in favor of free speech for everyone.”

In late April, the three students sued university officials after they were given “no-contact orders” from the school’s Office of Civil Rights & Investigations. According to the lawsuit, the students attended an LGBT event on campus with the intention of representing a biblical perspective on marriage and sexual ethics. When a student asked them about their views, they offered their perspectives and gave the unnamed student a note expressing an interest in continuing the dialogue. Instead of the conversation continuing, the three students were given “no-contact orders,” which barred them from further communication with the student that they had dialogued with.

“The CLS members did not receive notice that anyone had complained about them and were not given an opportunity to review the allegations against them or defend themselves,” stated the suit.

“Instead of allowing the students to disagree civilly and respectfully with one another and to discuss these important issues, the University chose instead to censor Plaintiffs.”

In an earlier statemen to The Christian Post, university spokesperson Jodi Walker explained that the no-contact order was “a supportive measure available to a student under Title IX” and that “these supportive measures must be enacted” when a student requests them.

“When a complaint is made that qualifies under Title IX, the university must make the student aware of the supportive measures available,” said Walker at the time.   

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University unlawfully stops Christian students from debating gay marriage: lawsuit


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor | Thursday, April 28, 2022

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-students-sue-university-of-idaho-for-censoring-speech.html/

The University of Idaho, located in Moscow, Idaho. | University of Idaho Photo Services

Three Christian college students have sued the University of Idaho for alleged wrongful punishment for expressing traditional views on marriage and sexual ethics on campus. Students Peter Perlot, Mark Miller and Ryan Alexander of the Christian Legal Society sued the university in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, Central Division on Monday.

The defendants named in the suit include University President C. Scott Green, Dean of Students Brian Eckles, Office of Civil Rights & Investigations Director Erin Agidius and OCRI Deputy Director Lindsay Ewan. According to the lawsuit, the three students went to an LGBT event on campus seeking to represent a biblical perspective on marriage and sexuality. When a student approached to ask their views, they offered their perspectives and gave the student a note expressing an interest in continuing the dialogue. Soon after, however, the Christian students were given “no-contact orders” from the OCRI, which prohibited them from communicating with the student.

“The CLS members did not receive notice that anyone had complained about them and were not given an opportunity to review the allegations against them or defend themselves,” according to the suit.

“Instead of allowing the students to disagree civilly and respectfully with one another and to discuss these important issues, the University chose instead to censor Plaintiffs.”

The students are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has argued religious liberty cases at the U.S. Supreme Court on numerous occasions. ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross said in a statement released Tuesday that he believed students “must be free to discuss and debate the important issues of our day, especially law students who are preparing for a career that requires civil dialogue among differing viewpoints.”

“Yet the University of Idaho is shutting down Peter, Mark, and Ryan because of their religious beliefs. This is illegal behavior from any government official, and we urge the university officials to right their discriminatory actions immediately,” Ross stated.

Jodi Walker, the university’s senior communication’s director, told The Christian Post that the academic institution “cannot discuss pending litigation or specific student cases.”

Walker explained that the no-contact order was “a supportive measure available to a student under Title IX” and that “these supportive measures must be enacted” when a student requests them.

“When a complaint is made that qualifies under Title IX, the university must make the student aware of the supportive measures available,” noted Walker.  

Walker directed CP to a July 2021 guidance document from the U.S. Department of Education titled “Questions and Answers on the Title IX Regulations on Sexual Harassment.”

Under the question on “supportive measures,” the guidance explained that schools have “discretion and flexibility to determine which supportive measures are appropriate.”

“The preamble states that a school must consider ‘each set of unique circumstances’ to determine what individualized services would be appropriate based on the ‘facts and circumstances of that situation,’” stated the guidance.

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