Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. University of Iowa, No. 19-3389 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's holding that University employees violated InterVarsity's First Amendment rights and denial of qualified immunity. In this case, the University deregistered InterVarsity as a Registered Student Organization based on the University's determination that InterVarsity had violated the University's Policy on Human Rights by requiring its leaders to subscribe to certain religious beliefs.
The court agreed with the district court that the University's policy was reasonable and viewpoint neutral, but not as applied to InterVarsity. The court explained that the University's choice to selectively apply the policy against InterVarsity suggests a preference for certain viewpoints over InterVarsity's. Furthermore, these rights were clearly established at the time of the violation.
Court Description: [Kobes, Author, with Loken and Grasz, Circuit Judges] Civil case - Civil rights. The University deregistered plaintiff as a Registered Student Organization based on the University's determination that plaintiff had violated the University's Policy on Human Rights by requiring its leaders to subscribe to certain religious beliefs; plaintiff sued, alleging the University's action violated its First Amendment rights under the free speech, association and exercise clauses; the district court did not err in denying the University defendants' motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity; first, the University's Policy on Human Rights, while reasonable and viewpoint neutral, had been selectively applied in a way the discriminated against plaintiff's viewpoint and violated plaintiff's First Amendment rights; and second, these rights were clearly established at the time of the violation.