Campus Access Issues

As good neighbors on campus, we assert that Christian organizations should have the right to require their leaders to believe and follow the traditional Christian principles and goals of their organization based, in part, on the free exercise clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and, in part, on simple logic: it upholds the integrity of the organization. We believe our chapters contribute to a positive campus environment through volunteer activities and the high moral standards required of our student members.

However, on a number of campuses, we have been facing challenges to our ability to be an authentic Christian organization.

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa Derecognizes 38 Campus Groups

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship undergraduate and graduate student chapters were kicked off campus for requiring their leaders to be Christian. Almost 40 other student groups —including the Sikh Awareness Club, the Chinese Student Christian Fellowship, the Imam Mahdi Organization, and the Latter-day Saint Student Association—were also expelled by the University at the same time. Becket filed the lawsuit on April 6, 2018 on behalf of InterVarsity, seeking to get the group back on campus in time for the fall semester.

InterVarsity has been a part of Iowa campus life for 25 years, welcoming all students as members. But like the over-500 other student groups on campus, it has a distinct mission and asks its leaders to embrace that mission.

For further information and history of the Iowa University case, contact Melinda Skea: or 202-349-7224.

Wayne State University

Wayne State University Unfairly Targets One Christian Organization

InterVarsity welcomes all students to its meetings and to join as members. It requires only that its leaders believe in and live out its faith. Yet in 2017, Wayne State rejected our chapter’s constitution, derecognized InterVarsity, and cancelled all of InterVarsity’s reserved meetings. After 75 years, Wayne State decided that InterVarsity’s religious leadership requirements violated school policy. Meanwhile Wayne State actively violates its own policy in many of its programs, and allows dozens of other larger student groups do the same.

InterVarsity, represented by Becket, sued Wayne State University in federal court in Michigan after school officials stripped them of official recognition just because the group requires its leaders to affirm their faith. Within two days Wayne State reversed its position and reinstated our chapter. However, lingering issues remained unresolved, forcing InterVarsity to go to court a second time seeking resolution.

For further information and history of the Wayne State case, contact Melinda Skea: or 202-349-7224.

California State University System

InterVarsity is Back on Campus at CSU

June 19, 2015: CSU has agreed to allow InterVarsity's 23 chapters to once again become recognized student organizations on the 19 CSU campuses where they are active.

“Following substantive and cordial conversations, CSU has clarified the intent and reach of Executive Order 1068," said InterVarsity president Jim Lundgren. “As a result, we are confident we can choose leaders who are qualified to InterVarsity's witnessing communities throughout the Cal State system."

“In a time where much of the public discourse is polarized, InterVarsity and CSU remained engaged, honest and respectful throughout the negotiations," he added. "While we are grateful to have resolved the issue with CSU, InterVarsity continues to believe that all comers policies will result in the exclusion, rather than inclusion, of diverse students from campus.”

More information can be found in the news release posted on InterVarsity's website.

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

Bowdoin College

InterVarsity staff asked to leave campus

In 2014 InterVarsity's volunteer staff at Bowdoin College, Rob and Sim Gregory, were asked to leave their roles as advisors to the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship (BCF), which is affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Bowdoin College requested that the Gregorys disaffiliate with BCF because they could not sign the college's Volunteer Agreement. The Gregorys stated that the agreement's non-discrimination wording was incompatible with their Christian faith.

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

Rollins College

InterVarsity chapter derecognized at Rollins College

In the fall of 2012 InterVarsity's chapter at Rollins College was informed that it was being derecognized for violating the school's nondiscrimination policy. InterVarsity appealed to the Rollins College Board of Trustees, but the appeal was rejected at a February 22nd meeting. InterVarsity continues our chapter activities off-campus and prays that the Rollins College leaders will ultimately reverse their decision. We think Orlando Sentinel columnist Darryl Owens was right on target when he wrote, "Expecting leaders to share a group's scriptural beliefs isn't about exclusion, but cohesion."

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

SUNY Buffalo

InterVarsity de-recognized at SUNY Buffalo

The Student Association Senate at the University at Buffalo voted in April 2012 to derecognize InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The vote was overturned by a ruling of the Student Wide Judiciary in July 2012.

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

Tufts University

InterVarsity Tufts Christian Fellowship de-recognized

The Tufts Community Union Judiciary de-recognized the InterVarsity Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) in 2012 due to faith-based requirements for leadership. TCF appealed the decision. The Committee on Student Life responded by instituting a new policy which allows student religious groups to use religious criteria in leadership selection. The new policy set certain criteria and ultimately TCF decided not to reapply for recognition.

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

University of Michigan

Asian American InterVarsity Chapter Re-recognized

Following a meeting on Monday, February 4, 2013, University officials declared that AIV was re-recognized. In response, InterVarsity released the following statement.

The University of Michigan has re-recognized the Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter, creating an exemption to its non-discrimination policies to allow religious student organizations to use religious criteria in selecting their leaders. AIV has not changed its constitution in any way.

"We are grateful that the university has taken a common sense approach to this situation," said Greg Jao, InterVarsity's National Field Director. "They join peer institutions like Tufts, Ohio State, and Minnesota in creating a truly tolerant campus environment that welcomes and supports religious groups. We look forward to continuing the conversation with the university to amend the university's non-discrimination policies to formalize this exemption."

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688

Vanderbilt University

InterVarsity chapter de-recognized, as well as several other campus Christian organizations in 2011

Vanderbilt University derecognized these organizations for non-compliance with the University’s nondiscrimination policy. InterVarsity believes Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy infringes on our religious rights by restricting our ability to use scriptural principles to determine the leadership and the character of our organization.

For further information and history, please contact Gordon Govier at (608) 443-3688


InterVarsity has also been involved in an ongoing legal journey which can be read about here.