California Not Discriminating Against Religious Students

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On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected an appeal by religious high schools that balked at some of the University of California’s admissions standards.

The plaintiffs, the Association of Christian Schools International and several evangelical Protestant high schools, alleged “that the University of California admission policy, which involves UC’s review and approval of high school courses in order to qualify applicants for UC admission, is unconstitutional under the Free Speech, Free Exercise, Establishment, and Equal Protection Clauses.”

The schools claimed that admissions standards at the university, which often failed to consider many of the religious schools’ classes legitimate, were unfair. At issue was a question about whether or not high school students were being improperly denied admission, or college credit, because of the content of their high school classes, many of which apparently rejected evolution.

The court found that:

As a university, one of UC’s “essential freedoms” is to “determine for itself on academic grounds . . . who may be admitted to study.” UC exercises that freedom by reviewing high school courses to ensure that they adequately prepare incoming students for the rigors of academic study at UC.

The original lawsuit dates from 2005, when the religious schools charged that UC denied credit for any course with a religious point of view or “any instance of God’s guidance of history, or any alternative … to evolution.”

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer