Colorado State University drops unconstitutional student group funding policies

Settlement reverses decision to deny Students for Life funding because speaker’s topic ‘didn’t appear entirely unbiased as it addresses…abortion’
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State University has agreed to drop unconstitutional policies that enabled university officials to deny a student organization’s funding request strictly because of the group’s pro-life views. As part of the settlement ending a lawsuit that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of the campus chapter of Students for Life, the university has agreed to overhaul its policies to ensure that all student groups will have equal access to mandatory student activity fees charged to all students.

“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.”

Under the terms of the agreement, CSU has agreed to make several reforms. First, it has eliminated its discriminatory and unconstitutional “diversity grant” program, through which it denied Students for Life’s request for funds to host a pro-life speaker. CSU officials engaged in viewpoint discrimination when they denied the request, stating that the speaker “did not appear entirely unbiased as it addresses the topic of abortion,” and therefore its diversity grant committee worried “that folks from varying sides of the issue won’t necessarily feel affirmed in attending the event.”

Additionally, the university has also agreed to modify its student organization funding policies so that they now include clear, objective, and viewpoint-neutral criteria for evaluating funding requests. The revised policies also eliminate a prohibition against funding any faith-based activities, or those involving a “religious service.”

“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, commissioners, and voters. That’s why it’s so important that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students,” added ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “When a university discriminates against some viewpoints in funding student groups, the marketplace of ideas is skewed toward the government-prescribed orthodoxy. Colorado State did the right thing by eliminating these flawed policies.”

In light of the settlement in the case, Students for Life at Colorado State University v. Mosher, ADF attorneys filed a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Name (LANG’-hoff-ur)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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