Pro-life students at a university in California sued their school over alleged unfair distribution of the mandatory student activity fees.
The Students for Life at California State University in San Marcos, a pro-life group, and the organization of the president, Nathan Apodaca, took the legal action after the university denied the group access to funds for the hosting of a pro-life speaker on campus.
“This is yet another example of a university using their power, along with the student costs to limit speech they don’t agree with or particularly like, giving credence to the emerging fact that tolerance does not apply to pro-life or conservative speech,” Kristan Hawkins, president of the national Students for Life of America, said in a statement.
The university used nearly $300,000 in student fees to fund two LGBT-friendly centers on campus — the equality of men and women Center and the LGBQTA Pride Center — during the academic year 2016-2017. But the school denied the pro-life Students for Life group the $500 requested to be the host of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Professor Mike Adams speak on the subject ” Abortion and Human Equality: A Scientific and Philosophical Defense of the Pro-Life,” according to the Christian legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom.
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University students pay about $75 in the mandatory student activity fees each semester. The Associated Students, Inc., non-profit student-run help (which every registered student is a member of) discretion to allocate these funds for student advocacy. The total amount of the mandatory student activities collected by the university during the 2016-2017 school year is approximately $1.31 million.
“[Associated Students, Inc.] favors the viewpoints of the two student and community centres, the equality of men and women’s Center and LGBTQA Pride Center, by the grant of more than $296,000 to them, which is more than 53 percent of the Student Activity Fees allocated to the financing of the student advocacy, and by creating special rules to favor only them-including allowing the two centers to use the Activities of Students to bring speakers to advocate for a particular viewpoint,” the lawsuit says.
While the LGBT centers have hosted speakers, the university and the Students for Life of President Apodaca “does not agree with their views, who advocate for abortion, and sexually promiscuous behavior,” the lawsuit says.
Apodaca submitted a request for funds that would partially cover the costs of his group’s proposed event, but received an e-mail that the request is denied.
“No explanation was given,” the lawsuit says. When Apodaca asked, he was aware that grants cannot be given to fund speakers fees and travel expenses.
“[The centers] are all the departments of [Associated Students, Inc.] and have their own budgets, do their own programming,” an Associated Students, Inc. representative responded to Apodaca, according to the lawsuit.
The university says that it is a “diverse and open campus environment.”
“Cal State San Marcos is committed to promoting a diverse and open campus environment where many ideas are discussed,” Margaret Chantung, the interim vice-president of the California State University San Marco’s communications, told LifeZette in an e-mail. “In addition, we take student complaints and concerns very seriously. Unfortunately no further comment is available at this time as a result of these ongoing legal disputes.”
But the pro-life students have the lawyers of the Alliance Defending Freedom, on their side.
“Universities should encourage all students to participate in the free exchange of ideas, up in the extensive financing of the schemes for allocation of their favorite couple with first-class status, while denying even the economy class to the opinions,” Tyson Langhofer, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.
The alliance Defending Freedom filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, May 17, against the university. The lawsuit names 17 people at the university of the board of directors and the university Chancellor Timothy P. White, President Karen S. Haynes and many other officials, including those on the Board of Directors of the Associated Students, Inc.
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