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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christian Fraternity Sues the University of Florida for Recognition

 

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal granted Beta Upsilon Chi’s time-sensitive motion for injunction pending appeal. The University must now recognize BYX during the appeals process. This favorable ruling protects BYX’s ability to pursue its ministry to students during the crucial period of time at the beginning of the school year.

Summary

Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX), aka Brothers Under Christ is a Christian men’s fraternity that is dedicated to instilling Christian values in college men through Bible studies, accountability groups, and other activities. BYX was denied recognition as a registered student organization by the University of Florida because BYX requires its members to be Christian. The university perceived this requirement as a violation of the school policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion. By denying recognition to BYX, the university excluded it from a number of benefits made available to all other registered student organizations, including participation in the student organization fair, use of the facilities on campus, and access to channels of communication such as bulletin boards and listservs.
 
On July 10, 2007, counsel for BYX initiated a lawsuit against the University of Florida challenging the university’s exclusion of BYX as a violation of BYX’s First Amendment rights, including the right of expressive association. The right of expressive association protects an organization’s ability to form around a set of shared principles. As stated above, the purpose of BYX is to instill Christian values in college men, and this purpose will be hindered by the forced inclusion of individuals who are hostile to BYX’s shared faith commitments. Accordingly, BYX seeks a judicial declaration that the Constitution requires the University of Florida to recognize BYX as a registered student organization, with all the benefits that flow from such recognition.
 
On October 17, 2007, counsel for BYX filed a motion for preliminary injunction, in light of the irreparable harm caused by the University of Florida’s denial of recognition. For example, the University of Florida’s actions have hindered BYX from recruiting new members during fall rush, the most crucial time in the year for recruitment, and call into question the group’s continued viability. The district court rejected BYX’s motion on May 28, 2008.
 
On July 30, 2008, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted BYX’s time-sensitive motion for injunction pending appeal, thereby protecting BYX’s ability to recruit new members during fall rush as the circuit court considers BYX’s appeal of the district court’s decision.
 
BYX is represented by the Center for Law & Religious Freedom and the Alliance Defense Fund.
 
Press Releases
 
 
Litigation Documents
 
Complaint –  July 10, 2007.
 
 
Appellant’s Opening Brief – July 25, 2008
 
 
Articles
 
Gainesville Sun: Alice Wallace, All-male Christian fraternity sues UF – July 11, 2007
 
USA Today/Associated Press: Mitch Stacy, Christian frat sues University of Fla. – July 10, 2007
 
 
Media Appearances
 
Audio: Interview of Tim Tracey on Across the Nation with Bob Dunning, on the Catholic Channel – July 13, 2007 (contact Across the Nation for audio).
 
Video: Fox News interview of Tim Tracey and BYX students in Florida by reporter Orlando Salinas. August 13, 2007 (contact Fox News for video).
 
Blog Commentary
 
The Center Blog: Tim Tracey, Questioning Beta Upsilon Chi’s Piety, on whether the Bible permits lawsuits – July 12, 2007.
 
The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog: Andrew Mytelka, Christian Fraternity Sues U. of Florida Over Denial of Recognition – July 11, 2007.
 
 
The Center Blog: Tim Tracey, Center Sues University of Florida for Excluding Christian Fraternity, on the initiation of this lawsuit – July 10, 2007.
 
Other Resources
 
Beta Upsilon Chi: National organization.
 
 



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