UC Discrimination Lawsuit Put on Hold

    One month after a lawsuit accusing the University of California
    of religious discrimination was supposed to begin trial proceedings, the case remains on hold while the judge
    continues to pore over the high volume of material.

    The Association of Christian Schools International, Calvary
    Chapel Christian Schools of Murrieta, Calif. and six students within the
    district are suing the UC system for discriminatory admissions practices,
    alleging that the university’s rejection of religion-based course proposals to
    meet science, history and English entrance requirements demonstrates prejudice
    against Christian schools and students. Federal Judge S. James Otero rejected a
    university-filed motion to drop a majority of the charges in August 2006, and the
    suit was finally scheduled to go to trial Sept. 24.

    ACSI officials said that the UC system rejected several
    proposed courses as a part of the necessary “a-g” subject area admissions
    requirements, a decision that unfairly limits certain students who choose to
    take religion courses from meeting the necessary application requirements, thus
    promoting a “secular viewpoint.”

    The university, however, claims that as long as the core
    academic content is present, the addition of a religious viewpoint does not
    preclude a course from meeting requirements and being approved.

    “The plaintiffs claim that UC admission discriminates and
    recent UC rejection of primary texts for their ‘a-g’ subject requirement
    courses have violated the right to free speech and religion,” UC counsel
    Christopher Patti said. “Reviewers and faculty review the textbooks for content
    students need. Textbooks must meet academic requirements, so that students
    receive training or skills necessary for success in their first year at the
    university.”

    Friction between the university and Christian groups was
    first brought to light in 2004, when the UC Board of Admissions and Relations
    with Schools refused to grant “a-g” credit for classes taught with certain
    religious-themed books. Among the rejected texts were biology and physics
    textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, publishers
    whose writings have been accused of favoring religious teachings over
    scientific fact.

    The introduction to Bob Jones’ “Biology for Christian
    Schools,” one of the disputed texts, states that the authors have attempted to
    “put the Word of God first and science second.” “Government for Christian
    Schools,” a textbook used at Calvary Chapel, attributes the forces of
    governmental decay to “man’s sinfulness.”

    Calvary Chapel administrators did not respond to repeated
    requests for comment.

    ACSI advocates argued that if courses with a Christian
    perspective were not approved, neither should courses such as “Western
    Civilization: The Jewish Experience.” UC officials, however, have said that the
    aforementioned course was approved because it fulfills the necessary academic
    criteria.

    Aside from taking 14 approved “a-g” courses, students still
    have several ways of satisfying the admission requirements of the 10 UC
    campuses. Students can be admitted if they score in the top two-thirds on the
    SAT II subject tests of the missing course’s corresponding subject, or by
    scoring a cumulative 3450 on the SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT II subject
    tests.

    More than 40 other courses at Calvary Chapel schools,
    including some science classes, have been approved to meet “a-g” requirements.

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