Righting a Wrong at Wichita State | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

Righting a Wrong at Wichita State

By David French1330117647000

When will school officials truly realize that religious speech is just as free, just as protected as political speech or any other form of speech? When will they finally realize that religious students are not second-class citizens, with their groups and activities subjected to greater scrutiny and greater restrictions than secular activities?

A few weeks ago, a student at Wichita State University contacted ACLJ and informed us that the university had enacted a student fee policy that explicitly discriminated against religious speech. Wichita State, like most public universities in the United States, requires its students to pay a student activity fee that funds student clubs. The only way it is legal to force students to fund clubs they may not like (for example, Republican students end up funding Democratic clubs, and pro-life students often fund pro-abortion clubs) is the funds must be distributed on a viewpoint neutral basis. In other words, I may have to fund groups I don’t like, but I can form my own group, and my group has an equal opportunity to be funded.

Wichita State forgot its obligation and enacted a rule prohibiting any funding for “non-scholarly religious activities.” Under this rule, other student groups could (and did) receive funding for a wide variety of non-scholarly activities, but religious groups faced a unique restriction. This rule clearly violated the constitution.

The ACLJ wrote a demand letter to the university and this week the university responded: The offending rule had been repealed and religious groups now have an equal opportunity to apply for and receive student activity fees.

We applaud the university for making the right decision so quickly and decisively, and we applaud our student client even more for spotting the discrimination and having the courage to contact us and fight back. The message to universities could not be clearer: Religious speech is not second-class speech, and religious students are not second-class citizens.

Latest in
Free Speech

Hold the Corrupt IRS Accountable

By Jay Sekulow1460990967058

Today is traditionally known as Tax Day. (It was moved to Monday, April 18 this year to accommodate a federal holiday.) As millions of Americans work to beat the deadline to file tax returns, it’s important to note that numerous legal challenges to hold a corrupt IRS accountable for targeting...

read more

ACLJ Takes on IRS Abuse in Court

By Abigail A. Southerland1460669265306

Today, the ACLJ presented oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in one of the largest lawsuits against the IRS for the targeting and discrimination against conservative non-profit organizations. Representing thirty-eight conservative grass roots organizations, the ACLJ opened its...

read more

Obama Admin. Blames Conservatives

By Matthew Clark1460566800000

It’s astonishing – truly mindboggling – a gross abuse of power. The Obama Administration is actually blaming conservative groups for complying with abusive and unconstitutional demands for information. To make matters worse, the Administration is threatening to publicly release reams of unlawfully...

read more

Judges' Blistering Takedown of IRS, DOJ

By Matthew Clark1458848616895

It’s one of the most stunning judicial opinions I’ve ever read. It is as clear in its scathing retort of the Obama Administration’s IRS and DOJ as it is precise in its legal acumen. In what can only be described as a judicial takedown, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously delivers a...

read more