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DU - MENORAH -Menorah Ministries - SETTLE - LAWSUIT

November 28, 1995 -- The University of Denver and MENORAH -Menorah Ministries- have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit that arose last year over whether the Messianic Jewish organization would be admitted to an internal ministries office.

 

   Reuben Drebenstedt, Pastor and Executive Director for MENORAH -Menorah Ministries-, filed suit in Denver District Court against DU claiming exclusion, on the basis of his religious beliefs, from an office in the University's Center for Religious Services, where representatives of various denominations meet with currently affiliated students.

 

    Drebenstedt also claimed he was prevented from exercising his free speech rights. In its answers to the complaint, the University emphasized that it has not acted against Pastor Drebenstedt on the basis of his religion nor interfered with his free speech rights.

 

    As part of the settlement, the parties agreed that no fault would be admitted by either party. The settlement also allows Drebenstedt membership in the Center for Religious Services.

 

    Settlement terms also allow the MENORAH -Menorah Ministries- pastor access to designated portions of the private university's campus. For example, he will represent MENORAH -Menorah Ministries- by continuing to occupy a table on the "bridge," a glass-enclosed corridor that connects wings of the Driscroll Student Center on the north and south sides of Evans Avenue. There Drebenstedt will be allowed to distribute literature explaining the mission of MENORAH -Menorah Ministries-and to talk with interested students. Individuals representing various organizations use the space in a similar fashion.

 

    As is the case with other religious organizations, Drebenstedt may represent MENORAH -Menorah Ministries- in conducting Bible studies and other activities in designated areas of the campus as permitted by University policy.

 

    DU and Drebenstedt agreed that the settlement preserves the institution's high quality learning environment and resolves Drebenstedt's concerns about access and free speech.

 

    Attorneys James Rouse and Terry O'Malley, participating on behalf of the Rutherford Institute and the Rocky Mountain Family Legal Foundation, represented Drebenstedt.

 

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