‘UNC Chapel Hill Tries to Spin Away a Major Defeat’
May 18, 2006
[C]onstitutionally protected freedom of association is meaningless if a group cannot exclude people who do not share the beliefs of the group. This is both basic common sense and clearly established law. The College Democrats can exclude Republicans, the college environmental club can exclude students who hate environmentalism, and the college chess club can exclude members who hate the game and wish to see it abolished. In other words, if you form a group in order to express commonly held ideas or ideals, of course you can exclude those who disagree.
UNC can spin this case however it wants, but the facts are not on its side. The university wasted countless hours and taxpayer dollars in a failed attempt to exclude a Christian group that only wanted to maintain its Christian identity, and then had to change its policies and recognize the group. It lost in its attempt to tell the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship it could not limit its leadership to Christians back in 2002 (an effort also apparently spearheaded by UNC administrator Jonathan Curtis), and it lost in its attempt to tell AIO it had to admit non-Christians this time around. No matter how it spins, the score is freedom of association at UNC-Chapel Hill: 2, UNC-Chapel Hill and administrators: zero.