A public university in Wisconsin is awarding credit to students for volunteering at Planned Parenthood presentations yet simultaneously refusing to award students credit for volunteering teaching classes to children in a Christian environment.
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are required to serve 30 hours of service learning in the community. The College Fix reports that according to the university’s undergraduate catalog, the service-learning requirement is “intended to provide students with an opportunity to serve their community, apply knowledge gained in the classroom, enhance their critical thinking skills and become informed, active, and responsible citizens.”
In the past, the requirement has been met by students attending a lecture at Planned Parenthood, but the university refused to count time that Alexandra Liebl and Madelyn Rysavy spent teaching young children about the Catholic faith. In addition, Liebl and Rysavy spent time assisting the kids with improving their reading skills, understanding Latin phrases, and learning more about Biblical history.
The university claimed that such acts were not service-learning but rather religious proselytizing and refused to count the time and reward credit to the two students.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) agreed with the students and filed a legal complaint alleging their constitutional rights were violated because “no public university should ever use a community service program as a vehicle to advance and instill anti-religious bias.”
“No public university should ever use a community service program as a vehicle to advance and instill anti-religious bias,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham, in a press release by ADF. “If the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire wants to require its students to perform community service, it must treat all forms of community service as equally valuable. The Constitution and federal court precedent prohibit it from targeting religious community service and denying students credit for it. That kind of animosity toward and discrimination against religion is unconstitutional.”