Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction will no longer distribute bibles to nursing school graduates as part of their "pinning" ceremony after the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers sent complaint letters. FFRF learned of the Gideon bible distribution in November from several CMU students and community members.
College President Tim Foster announced on Nov. 18: "I have sought legal counsel and researched legal precedent. I have listened to the divergent viewpoints of others. Taking all that into consideration, the bible give-away at the pinning ceremony will be discontinued."
Nursing students had apparently been told the bible distribution was a "non-negotiable" part of the ceremony.
"Thrusting bibles at students — who may be of varying faiths or no faith — at graduation is coercive, embarrassing and beyond the scope of our public higher education system," wrote Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel in his complaint letter to Foster. "This matter is especially troublesome in light of the wide range of cultures and faiths that were represented at graduation."