University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire religious discrimination case ends with a win for Catholic students: Alexandra Liebl and Madelyn Rysavy


University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire religious discrimination case ends with a win for Catholic students: Alexandra Liebl and Madelyn Rysavy
  1. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire religious discrimination case ends with a win for Catholic students: Alexandra Liebl and Madelyn Rysavy
    theglobaldispatch.com
    The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has agreed to drop its unconstitutional policies that deny credit to students who fulfill its mandatory community service requirement by volunteering in faith-based activities. As part of a settlement ending a lawsuit that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of two students, the university has agreed to lift its…
    Religion

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has agreed to drop its unconstitutional policies that deny credit to students who fulfill its mandatory community service requirement by volunteering in faith-based activities. As part of a settlement ending a lawsuit that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of two students, the university has agreed to lift its restriction that allowed only non-religious volunteer activity to qualify for “service-learning” credit.

“Faith-based service plays a vital and irreplaceable role in our communities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “We commend the university for acknowledging that it cannot apply a double standard in evaluating which students should receive credit in this mandatory program. If it wants to require its students to perform community service, it must treat all forms of it as equally valuable. The Constitution prohibits public officials from targeting religious community service and treating it less favorably than other kinds. Community service—whether it’s religious or not—is still community service.”

photo Kauhajoki.vaakuna.svg

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire requires students to perform 30 hours of “service-learning” in order to graduate. Last year, the university denied student Alexandra Liebl her service-learning credit for the 30 hours she volunteered as a religious education teaching assistant at her local Catholic church. Officials cited the university’s service-learning policy, which prohibited students from receiving credit for “time spent involved in promoting religious doctrine, proselytizing, or worship.”

The decision also meant that the 24 hours fellow student Madelyn Rysavy volunteered at the same church’s Sunday school classes would also be ineligible for the mandatory credits needed to graduate.

The original university policies stated that students could earn credit for many activities involving non-religious instruction, persuasion, and recruitment, such as teaching elementary and secondary students or volunteering with campaigns or “political watch groups.” Under the terms of the settlement, the university has changed its policies so that it will no longer discriminate against faith…

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