Dispatches from the Creation Wars

UC Lawsuit Will Continue

As expected, the judge in the ACSI lawsuit against the University of California rejected the UC’s motion to dismiss and ruled that the case will go to trial. I don’t have a copy of the ruling yet, but I hope to have one soon. This is the case where a group of Christian schools is suing the UC because they will not grant credit in the admissions process for a few of their courses. The ACSI claims this violates their free speech and free exercise rights, while the UC says that they have the right to set admissions standards and determine which courses meet those standards and which don’t. Having seen the biology curriculum and text, I can tell you that at least in that particular instance, the UC is absolutely justified in rejecting those courses for credit. I think they’re on a bit shakier ground with the literature and humanities courses, but I haven’t seen those texts.

Comments

  1. #1 Greg
    August 9, 2006

    From what I’ve read about the case, the lit and humanitites books were rejected in part because they were “lifestyle books,” (I forget the exact phrase they used) as opposed to texts that addressed specific issues (say presence of Jews in American lit).

    They were also rejected becasue they were anthologies without a complete work.

    One thing that seems to go against them (UC) is that they have older courses that use qustionable texts or that have dubious content and apparently only recently have started reviewing the courses as new courses arrive (if I remember correctly, a UC spokesman said that they admitted a need to review older courses). I’m no legal expert, but would that (a prescribed program that begins at a given time, assuming it’s applied to all new courses) be enough to avoid discrimination?

    An off-topic note: it was thanks to this case that I found out this site.

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    August 9, 2006

    I do have a copy of the ruling now, but I’m leaving the office shortly for a few hours so I won’t have time to read it in any detail until later.

  3. #3 dogmeatIB
    August 10, 2006

    Ed,

    I would argue that they have the right to accept or deny credits regardless of the texts in use. The university(ies) in question may (or may not) employ “professors” who have little or no credentials. The academic rigor of their program, at first glance, appears to be far below the entry level courses offered within the UC system. An additional question is, does the university in question even possess accreditation?

  4. #4 Greg
    August 10, 2006

    The suit was filed by a Christian high school against the University of California system. By university do you mean UC? In which case the answer is yes. Are you referring to the high school? That I don’t know. But I agree — in any case the university should be able to decide what courses are acceptable or not.

    Something that seems to make the suit less likely to be successful is that many students from that high school have been accepted into the UC system, including at Berkeley (the main focus of the suit).

  5. #5 Ed Brayton
    August 10, 2006

    Yes, the suit was filed against the UC system, so it’s accredited. The suit was filed by the Association of Christian Schools International, a collection of Christian elementary and secondary schools. I agree that the university has every right to set appropriate academic standards for admission. That right is not unlimited, of course, and it could be applied in an unconstitutionally discriminatory manner. The question is whether they have done so in this instance. I can really only speak to the content of the science course that they are rejecting, as it’s the only one I’ve actually seen. In that instance, I think the university is absolutely right to reject it. It’s not a science class at all, it’s an anti-science class. It quite explicitly teaches that if one reaches any conclusion via the scientific method that is contrary to their interpretation of the Bible, that conclusion must be rejected no matter what the evidence says.

  6. #6 JS
    August 10, 2006

    I’ve always argued that you should open the doors and take them in… After all, if they’re incompetent or have been permanently damaged, then you can always flunk them.

    Of course, that perspective is shaped largely by the fact that I’m majoring in a field that has empty chairs in the auditorium – and possibly by the fact that I come from a country where the universities are public and prohibited from charging tuition fees.

    - JS