Commonwealth Policy Center

The U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations that would allow public universities to treat religious student organizations differently than other student organizations. The issue boils down to religious groups being exempt from university nondiscrimination requirements imposed on other groups. They argue that the exemption allows such groups to “use religion to discriminate.” This misrepresents both the rule and the desires of many diverse religious student organizations all over the country, who simply wish to retain their distinctively religious identities by having religious practice and leadership standards in the same way that non-religious clubs are able to retain their unique identities formed around shared beliefs and goals. First Amendment freedom of religion is a cornerstone American principle, and it extends to religious student groups regardless of what the Department of Education suggests.