College launches attack campaign on student body president over pro-life group’s display

ADF letter: student officer was simply respecting group’s constitutional rights
Monday, November 09, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom have issued a cease-and-desist letter to Sacramento City College officials after the president of the Associated Student Government was subjected to an illegal recall election for refusing to censor a pro-life group on campus.

College officials targeted Steve Macias for retaliation after they attempted to censor the speech of an off-campus pro-life group that ASG had already voted to allow to participate in a campus event. Macias refused to censor the pro-life display on the grounds that doing so would violate the group’s First Amendment rights. The officials and ASG retaliated by subjecting him to an illegal recall election.

“Respecting people’s First Amendment rights is worthy of praise, not punishment,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel David Hacker. “Steve Macias did exactly the right thing in his role as president, and now he is paying the price determined by those who wanted to censor this pro-life group.”

In September, ASG approved the requests of several groups, including a pro-life group called the Genocide Awareness Project, to participate in the college’s Constitution Day. On the day that GAP erected its display, ASG Advisor Lee Weathers-Miguel and Vice President of Student Services Michael Poindexter objected to it and demanded that Macias have it removed. Macias explained that he could not do so without violating the group’s First Amendment rights.

Shortly thereafter, Weathers-Miguel removed Macias from an ASG trip to a national leadership conference and refused to explain why. The Queer-Straight Alliance, a campus group, and Equality California began to gather signatures to recall Macias, and they and ASG members made untrue public statements about him. The ASG violated its own constitution and bylaws repeatedly by not following rules to validate signatures through the judicial branch, voting to set the recall election by the invalid methods of e-mails and text messages, and attempting to suspend him by an invalid resolution that cited portions of the ASG Constitution which provide no basis or reason for suspending him. ASG and administrators never even notified Macias that the recall had been scheduled.

According to the ADF letter to the college, “ASG, not Mr. Macias, has failed to follow procedures outlined in its Constitution and Bylaws, and has committed gross negligence in carrying out its public duties and waging an unlawful and retaliatory campaign to force Mr. Macias out of office and punish him for simply refusing to engage in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.” 
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.