Friday, November 11, 2016

Suit Challenges University's Service Learning Requirements

A suit filed yesterday in a Wisconsin federal district court challenges the constitutionality of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire's service learning program.  All students must complete 30 hours of community service in order to graduate; however activities that directly involve promoting religious doctrine, proselytizing, or worship are not eligible for credit. The complaint (full text) in Liebl v. Schmidt, (WD WI, filed 11/10/2016), alleges that the two students who are bringing suit were not allowed to count time teaching religious education classes to children as community service, while students could receive service-learning credit for a variety of activities that involve non-religious instruction or non-religious persuasion and recruitment. The suit alleges that this policy violates plaintiffs' 1st and 14th Amendment rights. ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.