On June 18 of this year, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Institute for Creation for Research Graduate School (“ICRGS”) against the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Judge Sparks found that the Board did not engage in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by rejecting the school’s application for a proposed Master of Science degree.

ICRGS filed Institute for Creation for Research Graduate School v. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board last year, after the Texas board reviewed the school’s religious-based Master of Science degree curriculum and rejected the degree application because, it “would not adequately prepare students in the field of science education.” Both the ICRGS and the board filed competing motions to dismiss in the case. The Board was successful.

Judge Sparks asked IGRCS to re-plead its case twice because he could not understand the plaintiff’s causes of action and what relief they were seeking. While Sparks ruled against IGRGS by finding that the Board did not participate in viewpoint discrimination, he wrote in his opinion that, the “plaintiff [was] entirely unable to file a complaint which [was] not overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering, and full of irrelevant information.” His opinion should send a message to those arguing that Creationism should be taught to students in Texas public schools as well.

Sparks granted the Board’s summary judgment motion, finding that the Board had a compelling interest in protecting the public by preserving the integrity of educational degrees, “and there is no evidence the decision was motivated by animus toward any religious viewpoint.” James J. Johnson represented the ICRGS in the case. Shelley Dahlberg, an assistant Texas attorney general, represented the Board in the case.

This is a victory for those who value science and technology education, and have recently been called to the front lines in Texas. Challenges to the teachings of evolution and other scientific curriculum choices have been challenged, resulting in changes to state textbooks and curriculum, in both science and social studies.

Nicole Soussan

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2 Responses to District Judge Dismisses Case Challenging Denial of Master of Science Degree

  1. Law student says:

    Thank goodness this was in the hands of the judiciary in Texas instead of elected officials – you never know what the Texas politicians will do, but the judiciary is at least accountable to more than the whims of the voters.

  2. From what I’ve read here if the plaintiff cannot put forward a convinving or, more importantly, coherant argument how can they expect to illicit the verdict they retire. i think this ruling is important in safeguarding the integrity of educational degrees in texas, you don’t want to end up with alternative therapy practitioners getting medical degrees…