CCU Surprised and Disappointed by Federal District Court Ruling

Colorado Christian University is "very surprised and disappointed" by today's federal district court ruling in the University's case against the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE). "The decision is, we believe, contrary to the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution," commented CCU President Bill Armstrong. "The University intends to appeal the decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals."

"The effect of the ruling is to say that Colorado students will be denied state tuition aid for college if they want to attend a religious school," Armstrong pointed out. "Judge Marcia S. Krieger's decision is a setback for the students involved and for religious liberty. In our opinion, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education is violating the religious liberty and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution."

CCU filed the lawsuit against CCHE in 2004 as a result of legislation establishing a series of state-funded college tuition grants for Colorado students. These grants permitted students to use the funds for tuition at "approved" institutions of higher education. Among those presently "approved" are Regis University, the University of Denver, the Art Institute of Colorado, Colorado Technical University, Denver Automotive and Diesel, the University of Colorado, etc.

In this list of "approved" institutions, which includes most colleges and universities in the state, CCU is a glaring exception--even though the University has long been fully accredited and offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, education, humanities, sciences, music, theology, counseling, and so forth.

Although CCHE acknowledged that CCU "meets all academic accreditation and financial criteria," the University was not "approved" because it was deemed to be "pervasively sectarian." Applying this test is, in the opinion of the University, "blatant religious discrimination" and violates the U.S. Constitution. Joining CCU in this position is the U.S. Department of Justice which filed a "friend of the court" brief supporting CCU's position.

"Based on the facts and applicable law, we believe the Tenth Circuit Court will overrule today's decision," President Armstrong concluded.