The Corner

Politics & Policy

Why Can’t This University Stay Out of Court?

The university in question is Kennesaw State, Georgia’s third largest state university. “Progressive” administrators, who clearly like to wield their power so as to make life miserable for their perceived enemies (conservatives and religious students), have managed to get the school sued twice already this year. I write about the cases in this Martin Center article.

At the root of the problem are vague rules that give administrators discretion to favor or disfavor groups and events. Guess what? The sort of people who are interested in jobs in the Office of Student Life tend to be aggressive lefties who delight in abusing their power. They decide where student activities will be allowed to set up. A pro-life display was deemed “controversial” and therefore given the most undesirable (muddy, inaccessible) speech zone on campus, while a Black Lives Matter event was given the best.

Also, the school has a hierarchy of campus organizations. The administrators get to assign groups from the highest (with school funding and privileges) or the lowest (no funding and scant privileges). Conservative and religious groups are always placed in the lowest tier.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing students in two lawsuits against KSU. I’d say that both look like easy wins given the Supreme Court’s Southworth decision, requiring that public universities be viewpoint neutral when dealing with student groups.

I conclude the article:

Unfortunately, the costs of defending them will fall on Georgia taxpayers, not on the officials who persisted in enforcing rules they had every reason to believe would lead to lawsuits. This common circumstance suggests that it would be wise for states, when contracting with university presidents, to include a clause that penalizes the president for easily avoided litigation. Without such a deterrent, university presidents will continue letting their ideologically zealous underlings make and enforce unconstitutional rules like those at KSU.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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