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ADF letter prompts college to allow student Christian club on campus

New York campus officials revoke policy against student religious clubs
Published On: 12/13/2005

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. - Campus officials at North Country Community College have reversed course and will allow a student the right to form a Christian club on campus.  Campus officials changed their position days after an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter on behalf of the student, Tammy Snyder, informing campus officials of her equal access rights under the Constitution.

"Colleges and universities shouldn't treat Christian students differently than they treat all other students," said David Hacker, ADF litigation counsel.  "That's what NCCC officials were doing when they denied this student an opportunity to start a Christian group on campus."

Snyder wanted to form a student group called "the Christian Club."  The student activities coordinator told her that she needed to solicit five members by posting flyers or by placing an ad in the newspaper.  Snyder posted flyers advertising her club on three separate occasions, but each time campus officials promptly took them down, claiming that because of the so-called "separation of church and state" she would not be allowed to form a religious student club.

Hacker sent a letter on Snyder's behalf to NCCC officials advising them of what the law truly says with regard to the right of students to form religious student organizations on public college and university campuses.  The letter prompted the school to reconsider and reverse their stance against Snyder's formation of "the Christian Club." 

"We are pleased that NCCC, after receiving our letter explaining why their actions were unconstitutional, decided to change their policy and allowed Tammy to start her organization on campus," said Hacker.  "This is an excellent example of a school doing the right thing, and we hope other colleges and universities that may be confused about the law in this regard will be encouraged to do the same."

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

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