A conservative student group is suing the University of Michigan, alleging bias
A libertarian student group has filed a lawsuit against the the University of Michigan (UM) alleging it withheld funds from a speaker based on her opposition to affirmative action.
The lawsuit, coordinated by the conservative DC-based organization, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), alleges administrators denied the UM Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter a $1,000 reimbursement on the grounds that their speaker, Jennifer Gratz, delivered a political speech on Oct. 22.
“When a public university collects mandatory student fees and then allocates a portion of those fees to student organizations for their expressive activities, the First Amendment requires that the university provide access to the fees on a viewpoint neutral basis."
Gratz, a prominent opponent of race-based admission standards, was, in part, responsible for the 2003 Supreme Court decision effectively ending UM's point-based undergraduate admission system which gave minority students an admissions advantage.
Gratz was also behind the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a 2006 law which banned affirmative action as a factor in admission at Michigan public universities.
UM's Student Organization Funding Commission refused to fund Gratz's Oct. 22, speech on Nov. 14, and again on appeal on Dec. 3, according the lawsuit, arguing that it may not fund political or religious events.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that the organization had already funded speeches for liberal organizations including Amnesty International, Migrant and Immigrant Rights Advocacy, the NAACP.
“When a public university collects mandatory student fees and then allocates a portion of those fees to student organizations for their expressive activities, the First Amendment requires that the university provide access to the fees on a viewpoint neutral basis," reads the suit.
Annually, the University of Michigan’s Student Organization Funding Commission distributes roughly $300,000 in mandatory student fees to various student organizations.
The University of Michigan, did not reply to a request for comment in time for publication.
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