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Proselytizing ends at Texas State University (March 2024)

FFRF wrote to Texas State University when it came to its attention that an instructor was using their position to force students to pray. A student reported to FFRF that during the fall 2023 semester, students were required to observe and participate in a Christian prayer as part of the course “Leadership Development: Business As Unusual.” The complainant explained that due to the time of the class, students were provided a meal on-site during class. Prior to each meal, the instructor led students in a Christian prayer before students were allowed to eat and that women were told to line up for dinner prior to men. An audio recording from the class held on Nov. 6, 2023, showed that the pre-meal prayer was given as “thanks to the Lord.” Furthermore, the class primarily used course materials from the Relational Values Association, an affiliate of the evangelical Christian organization, the Great Commandment Network. “It is constitutionally problematic for a public university to utilize course materials created by an evangelical Christian organization,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Dr. Sanjay Ramchander, dean of the McCoy College of Business. After receiving FFRF’s letter, Ramchander responded, informing it of changes to the course going forward. The five-point bulleted list included, “Class prayer or religious activities will not be part of the course curriculum and class discussions and learning activities will leverage multiple perspectives that are considered to be germane and appropriate for the course subject matter and curriculum.” Additionally, Ramchander stated that faculty would be conducting a comprehensive review of the course content.