A Christian student group, Ratio Christi, has filed a suit against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in U.S. district court after the university denied its funding request to host a Christian philosopher, University of Notre Dame professor Robert Audi, as a guest speaker on campus, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
Although the school denied the group's request for $1,500 in funding, which is the maximum amount that recognized student organizations can ask for from the Fund Allocation Committee, Audi eventually lowered his fee to $750 after learning that the request had been denied, and the total cost of the event, according to Ratio Christi, amounted to about $900.
The group argues that the school violated its First and 14th Amendment rights, and asks the court to order the school to reimburse the students for the event expenses and their attorneys' legal fees relating to the lawsuit.
The student group is represented by the legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, which supports conservative Christian causes. The group's attorney, Michael Ross, said in a statement to the Omaha World-Herald that ''the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has failed to ensure its student organizations are treated fairly and objectively; it turned down Ratio Christi's reasonable request because of a blatant bias against its particular religious and ideological viewpoint.''
A spokesperson for the university declined to comment to the newspaper on pending litigation.
''The University of Nebraska-Lincoln should have no problem supporting speakers from a wide variety of viewpoints on campus, including Christian speakers,'' Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement. ''UNL has previously brought in much more controversial speakers, and Dr. Robert Audi and Ratio Christi should be given the same respect.
"I urge University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green to step in and define policies to end this kind of discrimination and to send a message that all viewpoints, including Christian values, are welcome.''
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