‘Under such a standard, MLK himself would not be welcome on campus…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Georgia Tech’s campus pro-life group sued the university because the student government refused to fund a speech by Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece and a civil rights activist.
In the lawsuit, Students for Life said the student government rejected its request because King is “inherently religious,” like her uncle, reported Alliance Defending Freedom, the group that represents Students for Life.
“Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, but that marketplace can’t function if a university grants funding only to student groups whose views the university favors,” said ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton in a press release.
“Under such a standard, MLK himself would not be welcome on campus,” Dalton said.
Members of Students for Life, like all other college students, pay fees for on-campus events, but they cannot choose what events the money supports.
“The Supreme Court made it clear 20 years ago that if public universities wish to force students to pay student activity fees, then those universities have a duty to ensure that the funds are distributed in a viewpoint-neutral manner,” Dalton said.
King, a former representative in Georgia’s state legislature, still spoke at the event. She talked about how students can defend civil rights, particularly the rights of the unborn, today.
ADF reported that Georgia Tech’s Student Government Association normally approves funding requests without debate, but the student association grilled Students for Life member Brian Cochran when he appealed for money.
The SGA said King’s message may offend students.
“The student government discriminated against the viewpoints of Students for Life and Ms. King in favor of the views of students the SGA members were afraid to offend,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom.
“Rather than exemplify this sort of hostility toward the First Amendment, universities should exemplify the importance of those freedoms,” he said. “When they don’t, they communicate to an entire generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”