Around the Nation

Required UNC reading about the Koran inspires lawsuit

A conservative Christian organization is suing the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for requiring incoming freshmen to read a book about the Koran.

The group, along with a similar organization, Family Policy Network, charged the university with promoting state-sponsored religion and violating the First Amendment.

Despite opposition from not only local religious organizations, but also from the university’s board of governors, the student government has declared the book appropriate and recently approved an academic freedom policy that allows the study of various religions in the classroom setting.

Students were given the option to write an essay instead of reading the book, titled, “Approaching the Koran: The Early Revelations,” if they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

The protesters’ case was dismissed by the U.S Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Va. holding up a lower court’s ruling that the university has not violated the First Amendment.

Harvard reinstates military recruiting
Military recruiters will be allowed on campus at Harvard Law School for the first time in 23 years, marking a major shift in the school’s anti-discrimination policy.

According to Harvard officials, the Department of Defense threatened to
freeze the $328 million that Harvard receives in federal funding if the recruiters were not allowed back on its campuses immediately. A relationship between the military and the Harvard Law School Veterans Association allowed the DOD to charge Harvard with violating a 1996 law making federal funding contingent on military recruiters.

Harvard originally banned the recruiters in 1979 because the military has a policy against openly gay members, a policy that officials felt broke the school’s anti-discrimination laws.

Fraternity suspended after posing in Playboy

A fraternity at Baylor University in Texas was suspended last week after some of its members appeared in Playboy magazine.

The picture spread featured about 50 fraternity members and four female students posing on a sand volleyball court. All were fully clothed. Some wore Sigma Phi Epsilon T-shirts, others held Baylor pendants. At the time the picture was taken, all those featured were students.

University officials condemned the photographs, claiming that Playboy magazine is inconsistent with their Baptist ideals. University spokesman Larry Brumley declined to comment on individual punishments for the students involved.

The pictures will run in the October issue as part of the Big 12 Conference spread.

-Patrick Higgins

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