By Vickie Speek
Judge Throws Out U of U Anti-Mormon Discrimination Claims
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell ruled last
week that claims of anti-Mormon discrimination from other
students have no bearing on a federal lawsuit filed against the
University of Utah by Christina Axson-Flynn. Flynn is the LDS student
who claims the U. faculty forced her to quit acting school because
she refused to swear during an audition. The lawsuit accuses several
theater department staff members of religious discrimination.
Campbell said the student claims were irrelevant to
Axson-Flynn's case and filed too late. Whether the suit has merit
though, has yet to be decided.
Alain Balmanno, the assistant Utah attorney general representing five
faculty members at the University of Utah, argued the school has the
undisputed right to decide what may be taught in the classroom and to
whom. Accommodating Axson-Flynn's religious view points would have
required a change in the curriculum, he said.
Attorney Steffen Johnson, an expert on First Amendment issues brought
in to help represent Axson-Flynn, said the case isn't about academic
freedom. He argued his client should not lose her constitutional
rights to freedom of speech and religion when she enters the
The case could go to trial in one to two years.
Judge Rules Out Other Anti-Mormon Claims in Suit Against U.
Salt Lake Tribune 31May01 D4
By Kirsten Stewart: Salt Lake Tribune
Judge hears religious discrimination lawsuit against U. Utah
U-WIRE (Daily Utah Chronicle) 30May01 D4
By Jared Whitley: Daily Utah Chronicle (U. Utah)