The University of Missouri agreed that a church bulletin discount offered as part of a volleyball ticket promotion was inappropriate, after receiving an Oct. 16 letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
A university employee informed FFRF that the University of Missouri volleyball team offered free admission to its Sept. 28 game to anyone with a church bulletin. as part of “Faith and Family Day.”
FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell wrote to the university’s athletics department to inform it that the discount violated the federal Civil Rights Act, as well as a similar Missouri statute, which provides that everyone has the right to full and equal enjoyment of places of “public accommodation,” including sports arenas. “The University of Missouri’s restrictive promotional practice favors religious customers, and denies nonbelievers and other customers who do not attend church the right to ‘full and equal’ enjoyment of the arena,” wrote Cavell.
Cavell also pointed out that since the university is a public institution, the discount and the “Faith and Family Day” raises Establishment Clause concerns as well.
Director of Athletics Michael F. Alden responded promptly the next day, informing FFRF that the discount was “not consistent with our department’s practices and that we stopped the promotion from being carried out as described in the materials.”