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First Chapman University administrators shattered the hopes of 18 students seeking to start the first Jewish fraternity at the school. Then they tried to silence them.

The ACLU of Southern California sent a letter asking administrators of Chapman University to restore the free speech and association rights of a group of the students affiliated with Sigma Alpha Mu, a national fraternity.

In February 2006, the students had their application turned down by campus officials. Determined to change administrators' minds, the group continued to wear fraternity T-shirts and recruit members. Chapman officials responded by ordering the group halt fraternity-related events on campus and even remove a page they had created on the college social-networking website Facebook.

"The students affiliated with Sigma Alpha Mu retain their fundamental free speech rights while on the Chapman campus," ACLU/SC Orange County Director Hector Villagra wrote.