A Christian fraternity sued the University of Florida on Tuesday, claiming discrimination because the university refuses to recognize it as a registered student group.
University officials have told Beta Upsilon Chi that it cannot be registered as an on-campus student group because only men are allowed to join, which amounts to sex discrimination, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Gainesville.
And Beta Upsilon Chi is not allowed to join the off-campus Greek system of fraternities and sororities because the fraternity requires its members to be Christians, the suit said. The organization that governs the university's Greek system prohibits religious discrimination.
"As a Christian fraternity, (Beta Upsilon Chi) is locked out of the UF campus," the lawsuit said. "The only way UF will recognize (the fraternity) is if it chooses to give up its identity as a men's organization or if it abandons its religious criteria for members."
"They're caught in a conundrum," said Timothy J. Tracey, one of the attorneys who filed the suit.
Denied meeting space on campus
By not being registered as a student group, the fraternity is deprived of benefits including access to meeting space and the ability to advertise and recruit members on campus, the suit said.
University spokesman Steve Orlando said the school does not comment on pending litigation.
Beta Upsilon Chi, also known as Brothers Under Christ, was founded in 1985 and has 21 chapters nationwide. The University of Florida chapter has eight members and claims that the school's failure to recognize it has hampered recruiting efforts.