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Jesus Now Allowed in Graduation Speech After Colorado Mesa University Reverses Ban

05-15-2018
Colorado Mesa University
Photo Credit: Colorado Mesa University via Facebook
Colorado Mesa University has reversed its decision after telling a student her graduation speech could not include any religious references.
 
Campus Reform reports a group of faculty members told a graduating student that she had to remove references to the Bible and Jesus because "speeches should be free of any one religious slant."
 
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to the university after learning that school officials told nursing student Karissa Erikson there would be "repercussions" because the nursing program "will not tolerate" Christian content.
 
According to ADF, attorneys explained in their letter that university officials misunderstood "what the First Amendment allows and what it requires of them."
 
The director of media relations for CMU, Dana Nunn, said the faculty member involved simply made a "mistake."
 
"Though the faculty member was well-intentioned, she made a mistake when she asked the student to remove references to Jesus and use of a Bible scripture," Nunn told Campus Reform.
 
"As soon as it came to the attention of CMU President Tim Foster, he recognized the faculty members' error and sent word to nursing faculty and the graduating student that she was free to include those references in her remarks," Nunn said.
 
The ADF did applaud the university for recognizing their error and taking action to fix it.
 
"America's Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies," said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham.
 
"We applaud the university for quickly recognizing that the First Amendment protects a graduating student's right to mention her faith in her own speech and has never required universities to purge ceremonies of all things religious," he said.

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