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Christian fraternity sues Univ. of Fla.

By The Associated Press
07.16.07

TAMPA, Fla. — A Christian fraternity has sued the University of Florida, claiming discrimination because the university refuses to recognize it as a registered student group.

University officials have told Beta Upsilon Chi that it can’t be registered as an on-campus student group because only men are allowed to join, which amounts to sex discrimination, according to the lawsuit filed July 10 in U.S. District Court in Gainesville.

And Beta Upsilon Chi is not allowed to join the off-campus Greek system of fraternities and sororities because the fraternity requires its members to be Christians, the suit said. The organization that governs the university’s Greek system prohibits religious discrimination.

“As a Christian fraternity, [Beta Upsilon Chi] is locked out of the UF campus,” the lawsuit said. “The only way UF will recognize [the fraternity] is if it chooses to give up its identity as a men’s organization or if it abandons its religious criteria for members.”

“They’re caught in a conundrum,” said Timothy J. Tracey, one of the attorneys who filed the suit.

By not being registered as a student group, the fraternity is deprived of benefits including access to meeting space and the ability to advertise and recruit members on campus, the suit said.

University spokesman Steve Orlando said the school does not comment on pending litigation.

Beta Upsilon Chi, also known as Brothers Under Christ, was founded in 1985 and has 21 chapters nationwide. The University of Florida chapter has eight members and claims that the school’s failure to recognize it has hampered recruiting efforts.


Update
Univ. of Fla. must recognize Christian fraternity
11th Circuit issues injunction ordering action while Beta Upsilon Chi's discrimination lawsuit against college moves forward. 07.31.08

Related

Federal judge throws out Christian fraternity's lawsuit

Court finds 2004 challenge to University of North Carolina nondiscrimination policy is irrelevant because school revised rule in May 2005. 05.07.06

Univ. of Ga. to recognize Christian fraternity

Move comes after Beta Upsilon Chi files federal lawsuit, claiming it was unable to register as student group because it requires all its members to be Christians. 12.10.06

Ill. law school to recognize Christian student group
Settlement comes 10 months after 7th Circuit panel ruled Southern Illinois University should reinstate Christian Legal Society's official status. 05.23.07

2nd Circuit: College can refuse to recognize Jewish fraternity
Judges say frequent mixed social gatherings mean group isn't protected by First Amendment in same way as one that strictly limits its activities to single gender. 09.18.07

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