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Domestic News | November 2, 2012

Crash Course 11.2.12

News roundup

Nondiscrimination policy run amok, another free speech lawsuit and advice for future med students

Locker room outrage: Public and private colleges have gotten a lot of attention recently for adopting nondiscrimination policies that force Christian groups to accept leaders who don't share their beliefs. But in the latest case of nondiscrimination run amok, a state college in Olympia, Wash. is forcing women to share a locker room with a man. Colleen Francis, a transgendered woman who remains biologically male, insists on using the women's changing room at The Evergreen State College. Female students often find Francis, who is 45 years old, sitting naked in the sauna.

Two high school swim teams and local girls swim clubs also use the facility for practice. Parents complained about Francis' presence and a swim club coach filed a police report. School administrators responded by saying their nondiscrimination policy prevents them from asking Francis to leave. Lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom sent school officials a letter warning them of the liability they would face if something happened to any of the girls.

Not-so-free speech: A pro-life student filed suit this week against Louisiana State University over the school's insistence she stay in a restricted free speech zone during the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity on Oct. 16. Deanna Candler, represented by lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom, claims the school violated her First Amendment right to free speech by requiring her to request permission before handing out any literature on campus and limiting her activities to a small section of school grounds.

Candler is a law student at LSU's Paul M. Herbert Law Center in Baton Rouge. Courts have routinely sided with students in similar cases. As part of a letter-writing campaign, ADF attorneys have successfully persuaded several schools in the last six months to change policies restricting protests and literature distribution to free speech zones.

Stay put and study hard: A new study shows that students who change schools during their undergraduate years may have a harder time getting into medical school. But the school hopping isn't really the problem. The students' MCAT scores present the real barrier to medical school. Students who attended just one undergraduate institution had higher MCAT scores and a better chance of getting into medical school than students who had several college transcripts. Competition for medical school is getting more fierce as more students want to become doctors but the number of medical school seats remains stagnant.