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U. of Wisc. agrees to recognize and fund Roman Catholic student group as it does other groups

Agreement settles case brought by ADF Center for Academic Freedom

MADISON, Wis. — In response to a federal lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom, officials at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have agreed to grant official recognition and funding of the Roman Catholic Foundation that serves Catholic students and staff on the Madison campus.  The university and the Roman Catholic Foundation have further agreed to steps that are designed to avoid future disputes and help end viewpoint discrimination against religious organizations.

“Catholics--and Christians of any faith--should not be treated as second-class citizens on campus, and this agreement provides the foundation with full legal equality,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French, director of CAF.  “This settlement represents an extremely positive outcome for religious liberty and for the Roman Catholic Foundation’s long-term presence on campus.  We’re glad that the foundation can now move forward with its ministry without fear of loss of recognition from university officials.”

The University of Wisconsin had refused to recognize the school’s Roman Catholic Foundation, the successor to a group that has served over 50,000 students at the university since its inception in 1883.  The school contended that the foundation was in violation of the school’s “non-discrimination policy”.

On March 8, a federal judge halted the unconstitutional enforcement of the policy while the lawsuit continued to move forward.  In the settlement, the foundation will receive $253,000 in student fee funding.

“Hopefully, this resolution will allow the Roman Catholic Foundation to enjoy the full range of its constitutional rights as it focuses on serving the students of the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” said French.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom is defending religious freedom at America’s public universities. 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.