Student fees fund pro-choice centers, but not pro-life speaker

Anthony Gockowski
Investigative Reporter

  • A California Students for Life chapter was recently denied a $500 stipend to bring a pro-life speaker to campus, even while its pro-choice counterparts received $296,498 in funding.
  • The school's Gender Equity Center and LGBTQA Pride Center received a combined $296,498 during the 2016-2017 academic year, whereas the 100+ student clubs only got $38,629 in combined funding.
  • The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit against the school, contending that the two Centers should not receive a disproportionate share of mandatory Student Activity Fees
  • A California Students for Life chapter was recently denied a $500 stipend to bring a pro-life speaker to campus, even while its pro-choice counterparts received $296,498 in funding.

    According to California State University at San Marcos’ Associated Students 2016-2017 budget, the school’s Gender Equity Center and LGBTQA Pride Center received a combined $296,498 from the student government.

    “The Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Pride Center enjoy preferential status."   

    [RELATED: Prof: ‘college campuses are not free-speech areas]

    Similarly, those same two organizations received $295,132 during the 2015-2016 academic year and are set to receive an even higher budget of $325,416 for the upcoming school year.

    Meanwhile, a new lawsuit filed against the school by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) claims that a Students for Life chapter was denied a request for just $500 to host a pro-life speaker on campus—a figure that would have represented .024 percent of the student government’s total budget.

    Highlighting the disparity further, ADF points out that during the 2016-2017 academic year, the two aforementioned organizations received more than 21 percent of all student activity fees allotted to the student government’s programming board, whereas the 100+ recognized student groups on campus received only $38,629 in combined funding—less than three percent of the total.

    According to a press release on the lawsuit, the university’s policies on student organizations prohibits those groups from “spending activity fee grants on expenses to bring speakers to campus,” but “the Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Price Center enjoy preferential status, and as such, are exempt from that rule and the standard $500 cap.”

    “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,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer remarked in Thursday’s press release. “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.”

    [RELATED: Pro-life group hidden by abortion advocates at Social Justice Fair]

    Kristin Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, described the move as “yet another example of a university using their power, along with student fees, to restrict speech they don’t agree with or particularly like,” adding that “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.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski





    Anthony Gockowski

    Anthony Gockowski

    Investigative Reporter

    Anthony Gockowski is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He has previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, and The Catholic Spirit.

    More By Anthony Gockowski

    Latest 20 Articles