Press Release

Court allows discrimination case against Wayne State to go forward InterVarsity Christian Fellowship notches another victory against university's anti-religious policy

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

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WASHINGTON – A Christian student group won a battle against an anti-religious university policy today when a Michigan federal court ruled that the group’s case against Wayne State University should continue. In InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. Wayne State University, Wayne State University’s administration abruptly kicked a 75-year-old Christian student organization off campus, just because the group asks its leaders to embrace its faith. After InterVarsity sued, Wayne State quickly reinstated the student group and sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, even while it still claimed the right to exclude religious groups from campus. Today the court ruled that InterVarsity’s lawsuit must be allowed to go forward.

In the fall of 2017, InterVarsity’s student organization status was revoked, and all their meetings cancelled, because Wayne State claimed the group’s requirement that its leaders be Christian was discriminatory. Wayne State already allows dozens of groups to have requirements for membership and leadership positions: As Judge Cleland pointed out in his opinion, the University admitted that both Greek groups and sports clubs can limit members or leaders to a single gender. With Becket’s help, InterVarsity went to court challenging the university’s discriminatory actions.

“We’re pleased that the court is allowing our case to go forward,” said Greg Jao, Director of External Relations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. “InterVarsity just wants to continue serving the campus and local community. All religious students should have the right to come together for worship and service according to their religious identity without being targeted for their faith.”

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is a national organization of Christian college students with over 1,100 chapters in schools throughout the country. At Wayne State, InterVarsity provides a place for Christian students to gather together and practice their faith through Bible studies, worship opportunities and service projects. InterVarsity welcomes all students as members, and anyone is welcome to participate in its activities.

“Christian students have the constitutional right to run their group according to their mission and identity, just as athletes and fraternity members do, without being targeted for their beliefs,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.