With all the news of protestors shutting down speaking events and attacking the speakers, you may not be aware many colleges shut down speaking events that promote viewpoints they don’t like long before the speaker comes to campus.
That’s exactly what happened at Colorado State University, when Students for Life at CSU was told it would not receive any funding for bringing a pro-life speaker to campus. The speaker might be “unbiased” or might not make everyone “feel affirmed,” college officials said. This despite the fact that they had funded past events featuring controversial speakers and perspectives.
Thankfully, school officials agreed to revise their policy on campus to be more open to free and diverse thought in response to an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit.
The original policy allowed the CSU Diversity Grant Committee to decide how to distribute funds to the various groups on campus that applied. Funding for the grants comes, in part, from the mandatory student fee that every CSU student pays, regardless of whether the student supports or agrees with the student organizations that actually receive the funding. These fees are over $800 a semester.
All of the students in Students for Life at CSU have paid the mandatory student fees, and yet the university declined to let the group use those funds. On top of that, grant money has funded groups that the Students for Life members disagree with.
This type of viewpoint discrimination is unconstitutional. The university cannot decide which viewpoints to allow on campus and which to exclude. They must use mandatory student fees in a viewpoint neutral fashion.
“University officials shouldn’t use mandatory student fees to favor some views while shutting out others,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer. “We commend Colorado State for making the necessary changes to ensure that Students for Life, or any other recognized student organization, will not be discriminated against because of their viewpoint when they request funds for speech activities."
Thankfully, the school took heed of the ADF lawsuit and updated its policy to ensure that all mandatory student fees are allocated in a viewpoint-neutral manner.
University Officials Should Never Ban Certain Viewpoints from Campus Simply Because They Disagree
School administrators should be striving to provide their students with a true “marketplace of ideas” by exposing them to a diversity of thought, rather than only the ideas they find acceptable. It’s not diversity if only certain viewpoints are allowed on campus.
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