Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UGa Will Accept Christian Frat; the Group Filed a Federal Suit to Be Recognized on Campus

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UGa Will Accept Christian Frat; the Group Filed a Federal Suit to Be Recognized on Campus

Article excerpt

Byline: REBECCA K. QUIGLEY

ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia officials agreed this week to accept a Christian fraternity as an official student organization, allowing the group to require its members to be Christian, as long as the fraternity agrees not to discriminate based on age, race, color, class, nationality, sexual orientation or disability.

Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) or Brothers Under Christ, sued UGa leaders in federal court Tuesday, claiming that university staff refused to register the group because it requires its members to be Christians.

Although attorneys representing BYX have said the group will drop the suit once the two sides reach a compromise, that promise is "still pending" a final agreement with the university, said Timothy Tracey, an attorney from the Center for Law & Religious Freedom, which filed the suit on behalf of the fraternity.

The university rejected the fraternity's registration application last month, claiming the group's requirements that members profess faith in Christ is "religious discrimination," according to the suit.

BYX representatives told UGa officials in October that the group wouldn't add a nondiscrimination clause that includes the word "religion" to its constitution because it contradicts the group's identity as a Christian men's fraternity, according to the lawsuit.

But UGa officials Thursday agreed to drop "religion" from the list of protected characteristics including race, sex and national origin in the nondiscrimination clause that BYX must include in its constitution to be an official student group, said UGa spokesman Tom Jackson.

Tracey said the fraternity has agreed to include the nondiscrimination clause, making it eligible as a registered student organization for perks such as an annual stipend, meeting space and the right to advertise on campus. …

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