Any student of any faith can become a member of Ratio Christi, as long as he supports the group’s purpose. Ratio Christi requires that those who lead the Christian organization share its religious beliefs. As a result, the university has denied it registered status, limiting its access to funding, meeting and event space, and administrative support.
The lawsuit, Ratio Christi at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs v. Sharkey, challenges the university’s policy which allows university officials to deny registered status to a group because the organization selects leaders that share and will advocate for the organization’s religious beliefs. These policies also prevent religious groups from selecting members that support their mission and purpose. They also give officials unlimited discretion to approve or reject student groups, even groups that meet all the published requirements.
In May 2019, the university agreed to make policy changes and to grant Ratio Christi registered status in order to settle this lawsuit. The policy changes ensure that a student club may require its leadership to promote the purposes of the club and to hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission. The university also agreed to pay over $20,500 in damages and attorneys’ fees.
Institution: University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Topic: Student Fees, Freedom of Association