ON-Lion Letter

In March, the Chi Alpha Campus Ministries student group sent a letter to California State University administrators insisting that it allow Chi Alpha's local student chapter back on the Cal State Stanislaus campus.

The student group was originally kicked off because of "religious discrimination" at the start of the 2014 academic year.  Unlike other non-religious student groups such as the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance or Greek fraternities, the Cal State system now refuses to recognize any religious group that requires its leaders to the group's mission and beliefs.

Chi Alpha was founded in 1953 as a place where college students could gather to worship God, study scripture, pray, and give back to the community through programs like feedONE, which provides food for more than 140,000 hungry children worldwide.  The membership of Chi Alpha's Stanislaus chapter is open to any student.  It asks that its leaders, who lead worship services and Bible studies, affirm the group's Christian beliefs.  Because of this requirement, Cal State Stanislaus has pulled Chi Alpha chapter's recognized status and expelled it from the official campus community.  The group had to cancel 15 previously approved events.

"How can someone lead us if they don’t share our mission?" asked Bianca Travis, president of the Chi Alpha chapter at Cal State Stanislaus, a cheerleader and senior there.  "It's impossible to genuinely lead a worship service or Bible study unless you believe what you're teaching."

In the letter, Chi Alpha points out that it submitted a new constitution that met Cal State's new standards in November 2014.  The constitution also stated Chi Alpha's belief that the university's policies are unconstitutional.  Cal State administrators insisted Chi Alpha remove this protest clause, however.  When Chi Alpha appealed to the university president, Cal State changed its mind and agreed to allow the protest clause -- yet Cal State is still keeping Chi Alpha off campus.

"Chi Alpha did everything Cal State asked four months ago.  But Cal State officials keep moving the goal posts,” according to Adèle Keim, legal counsel of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Chi Alpha.  "Cal State Stanislaus allows fraternities to limit their leaders and members to men.  So why can't a religious group require its student religious leaders to practice what they preach?  We call on Cal State to reinstate the Chi Alpha chapter immediately."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports The Becket Fund.

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