A New Way to Censor

by David French

This morning, the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to Florida A&M requesting that they reinstate a Christian student group and permit it to resume campus activities. The university de-recognized the group in January. The reason? The group allegedly failed to follow a policy that requires a university-appointed adviser to be present at all student group meetings or events (and remain for their entire duration). If the adviser can’t make it to the event, or doesn’t want to come, or simply disapproves of the group’s message and says they won’t attend, the group can’t have its event. Period.  

But it gets worse. According to the policy, the advisers are chosen by the associate vice president for student life and not by the students themselves. The group’s speech is thus entirely at the mercy of a university-selected adviser’s schedule or desires, with no standards to guide when they choose to attend student events. This requirement virtually defines the term “prior restraint.”

We’ve given the university one week — until February 16 — to change its policy and reinstate the group.