What's at Stake
Whether a public university may require a student club to comply with the university’s non-discrimination policy in order to receive official recognition and university funding.
Hastings College of Law, which is part of the University of California, has a general policy barring student groups that receive official recognition and university funding from discriminating. The Christian Legal Society is a student club that requires its members to sign a Statement of Faith that, among other things, rejects homosexuality as inconsistent with Christian values. CLS is ineligible for official recognition and university funding at Hastings because of its membership requirement, although it is otherwise free to meet on campus. This case challenges the constitutionality of the law school’s non-discrimination policy as applied to CLS. In an amicus brief joined by the National Education Association, the ACLU highlighted the long history of discrimination on university campuses, and argued that Hastings had a compelling interest in ensuring that any officially recognized and university funded student activity was open to all students enrolled at the school.
STATUS: Victory! The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hastings College of Law. The decision affirmed a school’s right to require student clubs seeking school recognition and funding to adhere to the school’s non-discrimination policy, provided the requirement is applied to all student clubs equally.