Milwaukee School of Engineering: Threat to Christian Group’s Freedom of Association
ReJOYce in Jesus Campus Fellowship (RJCF) ran into trouble when it submitted its original bylaws to apply for re-recognition after a year of inactivity. MSOE's Student Government Association (SGA) sent the group a letter informing them they wouldn't recognize the group because it believed RJCF's "Standards of Personal Conduct" discriminated on the basis of "sexual preference." After the SGA's decision, RJCF contacted FIRE for assistance. FIRE's letter to MSOE President Hermann Viets explained that the SGA's actions had violated the school's stated policies supporting religious liberty and freedom of association, and reminded him that no state or federal law prevents religious organizations from governing themselves according to religious principles.
When President Viets did not respond to FIRE's concerns, FIRE took the case public. Five days afterwards, the SGA voted to grant full recognition to all student organizations that were given "temporary status." RJCF, along with the Muslim Students Association and the Cigar and Pipe Social Club, became "full-fledged organizations with no funding restrictions or any other probationary restrictions."
- "Victory for Religious Liberty at Milwaukee School of Engineering," April 22, 2005: In a victory for religious liberty and freedom of association, the Milwaukee School of Engineering has granted full recognition to the ReJOYce in Jesus Campus Fellowship (RJCF) student group. On Monday, April 18, the school’s student government granted full recognition to all student organizations with “temporary status,” which included RJCF. The student government’s decision came after FIRE took the case public last week.
- "Milwaukee School of Engineering Breaks Promise of Religious Freedom," April 13, 2005: The Milwaukee School of Engineering has refused to recognize a Christian student organization because of an article in the group’s bylaws that requires members to live in accordance with certain tenets of the group’s statement of faith—despite the fact that the group has been recognized in the past with the same constitution and bylaws. The student government has also requested that the group be open to competing scriptural interpretations.
- "E-mail from MSOE Student Government Association Official to RJCF Advisor, March 30, 2005," March 30, 2005
- "MSOE Student Government Association’s Suggested Changes to RJCF Constitution, March 28, 2005," March 28, 2005
- "FIRE Letter to MSOE President Hermann Viets, March 23, 2005," March 23, 2005
- "Letter from MSOE Student Government Association to RJCF, January 31, 2005," January 31, 2005