Cal-Berkeley Backs Off When Libertarians Challenge Speech Policies

Other Berkeley groups light the campus on fire and throw rocks through windows, but peaceably promoting liberty was shunned by university administrators…

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(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The University of California-Berkeley changed a discriminatory policy after Young Americans for Liberty, a pro-liberty student organization, sued the school after officials refused to officially recognize its chapter on campus.

As part of a settlement ending the lawsuit, the university agreed to revise its policy to include specific provisions that prohibit discrimination against student groups based on their mission statements and political views.

Last year, UC-Berkeley denied recognition to YAL because they deemed it “too similar to Cal Libertarians.”

Because of this, YAL was unable to reserve space on campus, invite speakers, or access the pool of funds they paid into.


YAL said the school’s decision was discriminatory because it recognized multiple other student organizations with overlapping missions.

“Public university officials can’t discriminate against students because of their political beliefs,” Caleb Dalton, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented YAL in court, said in a statement.“By leaving decisions on whether a student group is ‘too similar’ to another club in the hands of a university official with no requirement to follow any viewpoint-neutral standards, UC-Berkeley allowed for unconstitutional discrimination, but these changes fix that problem.

“Because these students stood up and challenged the status quo, the marketplace of ideas is freer at Berkeley today than it was last year.”


YAL said UC-Berkeley originally denied its official recognition on the basis of its pro-liberty views.

“It is absurd to think that other Berkeley groups are lighting the campus on fire and throwing rocks through windows, but YAL’s efforts to peaceably promote the message of liberty are being shunned by university administrators,” Cliff Maloney, President of YAL, said in a statementshortly after its charter was denied. “All students, regardless of ideology, should be guaranteed their First Amendment right to Free Speech.”