Cal State Student Group Wants Ban Overturned

The Chi Alpha student group has sent a letter to the California State University administrators seeking to have its local chapter reinstated on the Stanislaus campus. The group was banned at the start of the 2014 academic year as a result of the university system’s refusal to recognize any religious group that requires that its leaders share the group’s mission and beliefs.

“How can someone lead us if they don’t share our mission?” said Bianca Travis, president of the Chi Alpha chapter at Cal State Stanislaus and a cheerleader, in a statement released Monday. “It’s impossible to genuinely lead a worship service or Bible study unless you believe what you’re teaching.”

Chi Alpha was founded in 1953 and membership is open to any student. It asks that its leaders, who lead worship services and Bible studies, affirm the group’s Christian beliefs. As a result, Cal State Stanislaus has rescinded the chapter’s recognized status and forced it to cancel 15 previously approved events.

In its letter, Chi Alpha says that it submitted a new constitution that met Cal State’s new standards in November 2014. The constitution also stated that Chi Alpha considered the university’s policies to be unconstitutional. Cal State administrators insisted Chi Alpha remove the protest clause. 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,” said 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.”