California State University at San Marcos is being sued for ordering pro-life students to pay a $75 activities fee every semester that is used to fund pro-abortion speakers.
The case was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Students for Life organization on campus and its president, Nathan Apodaca.
The issue is the “discriminatory” policy the school has instituted regarding allocation of the mandatory student fees.
For example, ADF said, the university funds “pro-abortion and other favored views with almost $300,000 in mandatory fees charged of Mr. Apodaca and all students, but denied Students for Life $500 in funding to host a visiting speaker on ‘Abortion and Human Equality’ to provide a contrasting view.”
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said universities “should encourage all students to participate in the free exchange of ideas, not concoct elaborate funding schemes to award their favored few with first-class status while denying even economy class to opposing views.”
Langhofer said California State University-San Marcos has “spared no expense to fund the advocacy of its preferred student advocacy groups but denies funding for speakers from Students for Life and similar student groups.”
“The result is a two-track system by which the university compels some students to fund the speech of their peers with whom they may disagree, but prohibit those same students from using these funds to present a different viewpoint,” he said. “Under the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, courts have repeatedly rejected unfair and discriminatory policies – like those found at Cal State-San Marcos – as unconstitutional.”
A WND message left with the school requesting comment was not returned.
While the university has claimed it prohibits all of its more than 100 students groups from spending the fees on speakers, the complaint explains, the Gender Equity Center and the LGBQTA Pride Center “enjoy preferential status, and as such, are exempt from that rule.”
“In the 2016-2017 academic year, those two ‘centers’ received a combined $296,498 for speech and expressive activities – more than 21 percent of all mandatory student activity fees the programming board received for that year,” ADF said.
In contrast, only $38,629 was allocated for the more than 100 other groups combined.
“This year the GEC hosted the ABC’s of LGBTQ: Queer Women and the so-called ‘Pleasure Party.’ The LGBQTA Pride Center hosted ‘Kink 101′ – which was an interactive workshop and discussion of bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism – and fetish-style practices. These and the centers’ other advocacy events were funded exclusively from mandatory student fees,” ADF said.
But when Students for Life requested $500 to invite a pro-life speaker, professor Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, they were rejected.
ADF said that although Apodaca, like other Students for Life members, paid “the same mandatory student activity fees that all students pay as a condition of enrollment, he and his pro-life peers are denied equal access to those fees to bring Adams to campus.”
“Instead, the Gender Equity Center and the LGBQTA Pride Center receive the lion share of funding available for student advocacy and may use those funds to bring speakers to advocate for these officially preferred views.”
Casey Mattox, senior counsel for ADF and director of its Center for Academic Freedom, charged that while the school touts community values of diversity and respect, it doesn’t practice them.
“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, commissioners, and voters. But at Cal-State San Marcos they are learning that government can force citizens to pay for advocacy of the views it decides shall be orthodox and effectively exclude competing views. There can be no marketplace of ideas where the government simply funds its favored views,” he said.
Kristan Hawkins, head of the national Students for Life group, said it’s “yet another example of a university using their power, along with student fees, to restrict 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.”
“Pro-life students should have every opportunity available to them that pro-abortion students have and anything less is a failure on the part of Cal State-San Marcos to abide by the First Amendment,” Hawkins said.