American Bar Association Acknowledges Complaint Against BYU Law’s Accreditation

View press release here.

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22 Oct 2015 — Today, FreeBYU received acknowledgment from the American Bar Association (ABA) that they received our recently filed religious discrimination complaint against the accreditation of J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University (BYU Law).

BYU Law subjects students and faculty to the BYU Honor Code, under which LDS students who change their faith are dismissed, terminated from on-campus employment, and evicted from university-contracted housing: severe impositions on their protected religious freedom. On 5 October, prominent scholar Mark Juergensmeyer boycotted BYU Law’s on-campus religious freedom conference in protest against BYU’s disaffiliation policy. In response, BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins wrote:

 “Because of covenants and commitments members of the LDS Church have made, they can no longer remain in good honor code standing if they choose to formally disaffiliate from the LDS Church.

A student who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who formally rejects his or her beliefs can no longer be in good honor code standing.”

The ABA has made it equally clear that accredited law schools, including church-sponsored ones, may not discriminate against students on the basis of religion. ABA Accreditation Standard 205 states:

 “A law school shall foster and maintain equality of opportunity for students, faculty, and staff, without discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability…

[Religious policies] may not be applied to use admission policies or take other action to preclude admission of applicants or retention of students on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.”

In accordance with their published procedure, the ABA will carefully review the complaint and provide BYU Law with an opportunity to respond. FreeBYU anticipates a final resolution of the complaint by early 2016.


2 thoughts on “American Bar Association Acknowledges Complaint Against BYU Law’s Accreditation

  • this seems to allow religious affiliation as a standard for retention.

    This Standard permits religious affiliation or purpose policies as to admission,
    retention, and employment only to the extent that these policies are protected by the United
    States Constitution. It is administered as though the First Amendment of the United States
    Constitution governs its application.

  • I admire and respect your courage in this effort. I appreciate that, for many of you, this will require moments of fear, sadness and regret. But you are doing a great service for all of us who wish to live in a world in which we do not allow discrimination on the basis of religion.

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