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College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis announced during a press conference at The Keeter Center on April 15 that the college had filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration.

College of the Ozarks held a press conference on Thursday, April 15 at The Keeter Center where it was announced that they have filed a federal suit against the Biden administration over his executive order titled, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Indentity or Sexual Orentation.”

The Keeter Center auditorium was filled at COVID-19 capacity with press, staff and students. College of the Ozarks Chief Operating Officer Weston Wiebe spoke to the students who were seated in the first few rows for three minutes before introducing College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis.

“Last night when Dr. Davis was preparing to release this press release and he was writing his remarks, he kept coming back and saying ‘Wait a second, no, no, no, I want the students to be there. I want the students to be in the middle of everything. I want the students to be the first people to hear about this issue,” said Wiebe. “The college today is taking a stand for religious liberty which at this time is very, very important. We are excited to be here today, I am excited to address you. Dr. Davis wishes for you to hear it first. We hope that you feel special and at the center of all this. That’s our heart and that’s our goal. Hopefully one day you can look back and as you live your life, you can know that certain things are important and worth standing up for.”

Wiebe then introduced Davis to the stage to give his briefing about the suit. 

“The College of the Ozarks, called Hard Work U by the Wallstreet Journal, is in fact unique among higher educational institutions in the United States,” said Davis. “It is a place where students do not pay to get an education, rather they all work. Religious liberty is important here and is celebrated. All students are held to a high moral standard. Since its founding in 1906, by an early missionary, the college has provided the students with financial needs the opportunity to work in exchange for a distinctively christian education.” 

According to Davis, all students participate in the work education program. The cost of the education is covered by the work program, scholarships, gifts, endowments and contributions from donors and supporters who believe in the programs, policies and mission of the college to help the college operate essentially as a no tuition Christan college.

“On January 20 of this year, our religious liberties and long standing Christian beliefs were threatened by an executive order that punishes religious schools, organizations and churches simply because of their biblical views of marriage and biological sex,” said Davis. “Today the College of the Ozarks has filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration.”

According to the press release issued by the College of the Ozarks, the lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex. The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and the executive order issued by the president requiring it,” said Davis. “The lawsuit explains that the HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that sex means biological sex.”

According to the release, the administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. The reinterpretation of sex in the Fair Housing Act comes in light of President Joe Biden’s executive order.

“The suit also argues that the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the constitutionally protected freedoms of the College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions who operate consistent with their religious beliefs,” said Davis. “This policy pushed forward by President Biden forces the College of the Ozarks to decide between defending its religious liberty or allowing the government to overreach into our internal affairs.”

According to the release, College of the Ozarks holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable, and it operates its dorms accordingly. The college’s sincerely held religious beliefs influence their policies, including dormitory policies, which prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom will represent the College of the Ozarks in federal court, according to the release. ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit The School of the Ozarks, Inc. d/b/a College of the Ozarks v. Biden in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division.

“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls’ dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake in the release. “Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.”

“Young women should not be forced to share private spaces, including showers and dorm rooms, with men,” said Davis. “A religious institution should not be forced to betray its religious beliefs. The government’s threats include harmful fines that could easily be in the six figure range, in addition to damages and unlimited attorneys fees, if we don’t change our policies.”

According to the release, College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Point Lookout, Missouri. To achieve its vision, the college pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals that are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

“College of the Ozarks is a christian institution,” said Davis. “It takes that seriously; our vision statement, to develop citizens of Christ-like character who are well educated, hard working and patriotic. We take this faith commitment very seriously and believe that President Biden’s directive comes in direct opposition of our world view and values. It’s our college today. Tomorrow it will be someone else’s college, it could be another school, it might be your church or charitable organization. The constitution of the United States protects our freedom by separating power and limiting government. When the government overreaches, the College of the Ozarks will defend freedom, especially religious freedom.”

In the release Davis said, “Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch. To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”

“The wolf is at the door, unfortunately, his name is Uncle Sam and he must be stopped,” said Davis. “We hope that other institutions will join us and finally stand up and demand that our religious rights be respected as the founders envisioned.” 

The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and the executive order requiring it. The order, issued to all federal agencies, requires them to modify their policies on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The lawsuit explains that the HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues that the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the constitutionally protected freedom of College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions to operate consistently with their religious beliefs.

To read the lawsuit, visit https://adfmedialegalfiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/CollegeoftheOzarksComplaint.pdf.

To view the Housing and Urban Development directive, visit https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUD_Memo_EO13988.pdf.

To view the executive order, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-preventing-and-combating-discrimination-on-basis-of-gender-identity-or-sexual-orientation/.

For additional information, contact the College of the Ozarks Public Relations Office at (417) 690-2212.

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The initial press released issued by College of the Ozarks ahead of the press conference Thursday afternoon can be found in its entirety below.

College of the Ozarks challenges Biden order that opens dorms, showers to opposite sex

From College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks filed suit in federal court today, April 15, against the Biden administration.

The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex. The directive accomplishes this by requiring entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The administration’s rule change forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening up female dorms to biological males and vice-versa, or face fines of up to six figures, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. The reinterpretation of “sex” in the Fair Housing Act comes in light of President Joe Biden’s executive order titled, “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” signed in January 2021.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom will represent the College.

“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls’ dorms to males based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of ‘sex,’” said ADF Senior Counsel Julie Marie Blake. “Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.”

College of the Ozarks holds to the Christian belief that biological sex is not changeable, and it operates its dorms accordingly. The College’s sincerely held religious beliefs influence their policies, including dormitory policies, which prohibit male students from living in female residence halls, and vice versa.

“Religious freedom is under attack in America, and we won’t stand on the sidelines and watch,” said College of the Ozarks President, Dr. Jerry C. Davis. “To threaten religious freedom is to threaten America itself. College of the Ozarks will not allow politicians to erode this essential American right or the ideals that shaped America’s founding.”

The lawsuit opposes the HUD directive and the executive order requiring it. The order, issued to all federal agencies, requires them to modify their policies on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The lawsuit explains that the HUD directive contradicts the historical judicial interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which confirms that “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues that the directive exceeds the administration’s authority and violates the constitutionally protected freedom of College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions to operate consistently with their religious beliefs.

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college in Point Lookout, Missouri. To achieve its vision, the college pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals that are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit The School of the Ozarks, Inc. d/b/a College of the Ozarks v. Biden in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division.

To read the lawsuit, visit https://adfmedialegalfiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/CollegeoftheOzarksComplaint.pdf

To view the Housing and Urban Development directive, visit https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUD_Memo_EO13988.pdf

To view the executive order, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-preventing-and-combating-discrimination-on-basis-of-gender-identity-or-sexual-orientation/

For additional information, contact the Public Relations Office at (417) 690-2212.

 

About College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2021 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

 

The Keeter Center — the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility — earned a TripAdvisor® Traveler’s Choice Award for 2020. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest workstation on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at www.facebook.com/collegeoftheozarks or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.

 

About Alliance Defending Freedom

 

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

(2) comments

Carnegie

Does this little school even allow open homosexual students? It's doubtful, as it would be against "their" faith. So why the law suite? Nothing better to do behind their gates that protect the school from sinners like those terrible homosexuals! Davis fears the 1619 Project, which tells the full story of American Black History and now fears homosexuals will infiltrate the student body. Whats next to fear?

Corkey

I'm thinking you're missing the point of the "lawsuit".......Unless you are a science denier or believe in gender "fluidity" as the 1619 project would laughingly promote. The 1619 project openly states "state of mind" and using that reasoning as I fly to my next sales meeting and I believe myself to be a pilot then......Give me the controls, sit down and shut up!

However, on a serious and more germane note, Constitutional Rights and Freedoms regarding religion are NOT fluid.

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