Written by Amanda Williams
On Tuesday, California State University of San Marcos was found guilty by a district court judge of viewpoint discrimination against their Students for Life chapter. The issue arose when the chapter was unfairly denied funding for one of their yearly events even though the funding is provided by a mandatory student fee.
There are mandatory fees students must pay each year. Part of the fees goes to the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), which is responsible for funding all the student organizations and their group events. In 2017, the Students for Life chapter went to ASI to ask for funding for their event, which included the appearance of UNC-Wilmington professor Mike Adams, but their request was rejected.
District Judge M. James Lorenz of the Southern District of California, who ruled on the case, articulated that while the basic guidelines for the funding requests were neutral, there was no specific policy to combat viewpoint discrimination, making their denial unfair and wrong. Furthermore, because of the lack of specific policy, the judge explained how ASI could not continue to distribute funds under their current methods. According to the judge, there must be stricter standards implemented within the guidelines so that similar situations can be prevented.
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins commented on the matter, articulating how pro-life students should be given the same privileges as pro-abortion students and how CSUSM has no right to restrict content-based speech. At the end of the day, the matter transcends whether one is pro-life or pro-choice.
The root of the issue is college campuses restricting student’s First Amendment rights because they do not align with the university’s viewpoint. CSUSM, in this case, violated the rights of pro-life students. On a broader scale, it is only fueling the ever-growing polarization of college campuses nationwide.