No more funding bias at Texas A&M

Lawsuit prompts college to revise funding policy to end discrimination against religious, political groups
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Attorney sound bite:  David Hacker

HOUSTON — Texas A&M University has agreed to revise its student organization funding policy in the wake of an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed after officials denied funds to a conservative student group while approving funds for other groups. The old policy denied funding to religious and political groups.

“Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, not a place where funding earmarked for student groups only goes to the ones the university prefers,” said Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “We commend Texas A&M for quickly revising its policy so that religious and political groups can apply for and obtain student funding on equal footing with other student groups. Texas A&M officials have demonstrated genuine concern for the constitutionally protected freedoms of their students. We hope other universities will follow their example.”

In December 2011, Texas Aggie Conservatives submitted a funding request to offset costs for bringing a well-known speaker to campus to discuss poverty, race, and social justice issues in America from a political and religious perspective. The university denied the request in February on grounds that funds “cannot be approved for recognized organizations with a classification of social and political issues.”

Under the revised policy, Texas A&M will no longer bar religious and political groups from obtaining funding from money collected through student fees. These groups will now be able to apply for funding in the same way as non-religious and non-political groups. In addition, the policy outlines specific criteria in evaluating funding applications, as well as an appeal process for groups denied funding.

Houston attorney G. Scott Fiddler, one of nearly 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, served as local counsel in the lawsuit, Texas Aggie Conservatives v. Loftin, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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