A Christian student group has been welcomed back on campus at Wayne State University after threatening a lawsuit for being unfairly booted out.
The school reversed its decision Thursday, just two days after InterVarsity Christian Fellowship threatened a lawsuit, represented by Becket, a national legal organization.
“After a review of the situation and communicating with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship organization, Wayne State has decided to recertify the group as an official student organization,” Wayne State spokesperson Matt Lockwood told Fox News. “The InterVarsity student group is committed to welcoming and including all students, and the university will not intervene in the group’s leadership selection.”
The group was originally kicked out because all its leaders had to be Christians.
Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, said the university’s decision is a move in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
"It’s about time that Wayne State let InterVarsity come in from the cold,” Windham told Fox News. “Christian student groups should be able to have Christian leaders. Now Wayne State needs to make this permanent and ensure this unfair treatment will never happen again."
The issue arose in 2017, when the Detroit-based public college started a new online registration system for its some 400 student organizations. After InterVarsity filled out the form, the group was de-recognized, after being on campus for 75 years, because of “the constitution’s requirement that leaders share the chapter’s faith was inconsistent with the school’s nondiscrimination code.”
The school’s decision to kick out the Christian student group was not only unfair, but unconstitutional according to Windham. Like many other student groups at Wayne State, anyone – regardless of religious beliefs – could join InterVarsity, but if they wanted to become a leader, they had to profess the faith requirement consistent with the group’s mission.
Because of the school’s decision to reinstate InterVarsity, they will be able to reserve meeting rooms, host free tables for interested students, appear on the school’s website, and apply for student group funds and other benefits that come with official status once again.
InterVarsity’s purpose “is to establish and advance at colleges and universities witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord.” The group has been active in the community for decades: volunteering at food pantries, helping clean up rundown neighborhoods in Detroit, and raising awareness on the plague of human trafficking and holding discussions on campus about the intersection of Christianity, race, and social justice.