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Posted 11 Jun 2001   For week ended June 01, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Jun01

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 classroom.

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)


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