Bob Jones University: A History of Discrimination

Our landmark lawsuit to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination and abuse at-taxpayer funded religious colleges and universities includes a plaintiff who attended Bob Jones University. This isn't the first time Bob Jones University's discrimination has been challenged in court:


Bob Jones University claimed that the bible prohibits interracial marriages – and until 1971, the university denied admission to Black students.

Even after changing their admission policy, BJU expelled or denied admission to anyone who:

  • dated or married someone of a different race

  • advocated for interracial marriage

  • associated with supporters of interracial marriage

BJU maintained its tax-exempt status with the IRS until 1970, when the IRS revoked it due to racial discrimination.


BJU didn't back down even after a 1983 Supreme Court ruling finding that religious schools discriminating on the basis of race, including BJU, were not eligible for tax exempt status. BJU maintained its ban on interracial dating until 2000.

21 years later, Bob Jones University is still discriminating – asking for a “religious exemption” from the Department of Education in order to discriminate against LGBTQ students.


LGBTQ students at BJU are faced with disciplinary procedures, monetary fines, conversion therapy and harassment – all while BJU still receives federal taxpayer money.


Now, BJU alumni like Elizabeth Hunter have filed a lawsuit calling on the Department of Education to stop granting dangerously broad religious exemptions to BJU and the 200+ taxpayer-funded religious schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students.


Show your support for these brave plaintiffs by clicking here to take the pledge in support of these students.