FFRF complaint changes “Faith and Family Night” at Pennsylvania university (Aug. 20, 2012)

In response to a complaint from FFRF, California University of Pennsylvania agreed that it was impermissible and unconstitutional to offer reduced admission to basketball games for those who mention their church affiliation. CalU, a public university, offered a “Faith and Family Night” on Jan. 6, 2012, and promoted $3 admission for those who mentioned their church affiliation. Churches were also granted permission to set up informational tables at the new basketball arena.

Having received a complaint from a member of the CalU community, FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt wrote University President Geraldine Jones on June 18 about the unlawful promotion.

University Legal Counsel Jacqueline Morrow replied and said that she informed University administrators on the day of the event that the promotion was unconstitutional. She wrote on Aug. 20, “The University administrators responsible for the event were apologetic and because the game had already been advertised, we decided that the available cure would be to make sure that everyone that attended the event would be charged the same, lower price.” She said, “The University now understands clearly that it cannot use tax dollars to provide a benefit to one group over another based on church membership, or any other basis for that matter, whether or not the First Amendment is implicated. . . Not only was the plan unconstitutional, it was not successful. Attendance was low.” 

Freedom From Religion Foundation