Wednesday, July 3, 2013

University Official Orders Student to Remove Cross Necklace


This week, Liberty Institute stepped in to help Audrey Jarvis, a Sonoma State University student who was told by a university official to remove her cross necklace because it might offend other students.

Jarvis, a 19-year-old liberal arts major, was working for the university’s Associated Students Production (“ASP”) organization at a student orientation fair when her supervisor asked her to remove the necklace.

The supervisor told Jarvis that the chancellor had a policy against wearing religious items and said the cross necklace “might offend others, it might make incoming students feel unwelcome, or it might cause incoming students to feel that ASP was not an organization they should join.”

“I was offended because I believe as a Christian woman it is my prerogative to display my faith any way I like so long as it is not harming anyone else,” Jarvis told Fox News. “I was very hurt and felt as if the university’s mission statement – which includes tolerance and inclusivity to all – was violated.”

Her supervisor approached her a second time and told to put the cross under her shirt or remove it. She was so upset about the incident that she left the student fair early.

With the assistance of Liberty Institute attorneys, this week, Jarvis, a devout Catholic, filed a religious accommodation request with the university.   

Liberty Institute Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser told Fox News’ Todd Starnes “it’s amazing in this day of diversity and tolerance on university campuses that a university official would engage in this type of obvious religious discrimination.”

“It’s unfortunate there are university officials out there who think that it’s okay to tell Christians to hide their faith – but would cringe if somebody said the same thing about hiding someone’s pride in whatever political or cultural affiliation they may have,” he told the news outlet.

Sonoma State University spokeswoman Susan Kashack admitted to Fox News that the incident did occur and that the supervisor was “completely wrong” in his actions.

We are seeing more and more of these cases throughout our nation’s schools. Radical groups like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have created a culture of fear that is sweeping across the country. America’s public schools – from small elementary schools to large universities – are so afraid of potential lawsuits, that they infringe upon the constitutional rights of students to freely express their religious beliefs.

But, as Audrey Jarvis demonstrates, it’s time for people of faith to take a stand. Liberty Institute is standing with her, and with other students across the country. We just need you to stand with us. 

Please, consider a gift today to help protect religious freedom for students like Audrey Jarvis and others across America. Your generous financial support enables us to fight back against misinformed government school officials and well-funded groups like the ACLU and FFRF.

As we have proven time and time again, when we have the financial resources to defend out constitutional rights, and when people are bold enough to stand…we WIN!

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit