Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Texas A&M University to challenge a policy that it alleges unconstitutionally denies funding to political and religious student organizations while providing funds to many other student groups.
“Student groups should not be singled out for discrimination because of their political or religious views. 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,” says ADF Legal Counsel David Hacker.
“ADF has successfully litigated similar cases because the Constitution requires that political and faith-based student organizations not be targeted for discrimination based upon their viewpoints.”
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,” which forced the group to raise funds through alternate sources.
ADF argues that the university’s policy requires the group to abandon its First Amendment protected right to access funding but does not impose the same requirement on non-political and non-religious student organizations.
The policy allows the university to allocate resources at its discretion, without any clearly defined criteria or standards. As a result, ADF said, the university has the power to unconstitutionally favor the speech of some groups over others.
Texas A&M was not immediately available for comment.