Court Unanimously Rules University Of Iowa Wrongly Discriminated Against Christian Youth Organization

An appeals court has unanimously ruled against the University of Iowa for wrongly discriminating a Christian youth organization.

The Christian Post reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Friday ruled in favor of two youth organizations–the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship–who sued the University of Iowa for deregistering them as student groups out of “viewpoint discrimination.”

“Employees of the University of Iowa targeted religious student organizations for discriminatory enforcement of its Human Rights Policy. After the district court ordered it to stop selectively enforcing the policy against one religious group, the University deregistered another-InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship. InterVarsity filed suit. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held that University employees violated InterVarsity’s First Amendment rights and denied qualified immunity. We affirm,” the three-panel judge said in its decision.

“What the University did here was clearly unconstitutional. It targeted religious groups for differential treatment under the Human Rights Policy-while carving out exemptions and ignoring other violative groups with missions they presumably supported. The University and individual defendants turned a blind eye to decades of First Amendment jurisprudence or they proceeded full speed ahead knowing they were violating the law. Either way, qualified immunity provides no safe haven,” the Eight Circuit judges concluded.

The case, InterVarsity v. University of Iowa, was filed in 2018 when the university “deregistered” many religious organizations that included the InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship, as well as Sikh and Muslim groups. The University actually sent a notice to religious groups on June 1, 2018 with the threat of “deregistration” if the groups will not change their constitution.