Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This just in: U of California demands actual college coursework for transfer credit

Finally some sense in the news! Nice one, University of California.

MURRIETA: Judge throws out religious discrimination suit
Calvary Chapel attorney to appeal ruling

By RANI GUPTA - Staff Writer Friday, August 8, 2008 10:50 PM PDT

A federal judge in Los Angeles has thrown out the remaining claims of Calvary Chapel Christian School, which sued the University of California alleging university officials rejected some courses for credit because of their Christian viewpoint.

U.S. District Judge James Otero said in a summary judgment ruling released Friday that the school had failed to show evidence that UC officials had violated the First Amendment rights of the five Calvary students who sued along with the school and the Association of Christian Schools International.

Robert Tyler, an attorney who represented Calvary, said Friday night that the decision will be appealed.

"We always believed we were going to have to get up in the higher courts before we would get a ruling that would be favorable to us," said Tyler, general counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a religious liberty law firm in Murrieta.

In March, Otero threw out the Christian school's broader claims that UC policies were unconstitutional on their face. Friday's ruling concerned Calvary's claims that the policies were also unconstitutional as they were applied in the review of several classes.

Otero wrote that Calvary "provided no evidence of animus" on the part of university officials, whom he said had a "rational basis" for determining that the proposed Calvary courses would not meet the UC college preparatory requirements.

For instance, a UC professor who reviewed Calvary's proposed Christianity's Influence on America class said the course used a textbook that "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events," "attributes historical events to divine providence rather than analyzing human action," and "contains inadequate treatment of several major ethnic groups, women and non-Christian religious groups."

Another university professor agreed that the textbook from Bob Jones University shouldn't be used for a college-preparatory history class because it didn't encourage critical thinking skills and failed to cover "major topics, themes and components" of U.S. history, Otero wrote.

The judge said Calvary provided little admissible evidence to the contrary.

The court also ruled that UC officials had a rational reason to reject a course called World Religions for elective credit.

University reviewers had asked Calvary to accurately identify the book because they could not verify its existence and asked the school to show how the class "treats the study of religion from the standpoint of scholarly inquiry," Otero's ruling said. He said Calvary provided no evidence they had tried to clarify the content.

"[T]he course rejection feedback makes clear that the course may have been approved with minimal clarification," the judge wrote.

University officials have said they approved 43 courses from Calvary Chapel, which Tyler said Calvary students have used to gain admission to UC schools. There are other ways to be admitted, such as high test scores. However, Tyler said he fears schools will become afraid to teach from a Christian perspective.

"We're worried in the long term, Christian education is going to be continually watered down in order to satisfy the UC school system," he said.

A university spokesman could not be reached for comment late Friday.

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